Spin Cycle

News, views and commentary on Long Island, state and national politics.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, thanking a Brooklyn supermarket owner for employing undocumented immigrant labor, said that neither the workers nor their bosses should be penalized.

Taking calls on his weekly “Ask the Mayor” radio show on WNYC, de Blasio told host Brian Lehrer that the United States’ “ridiculous” immigration policy isn’t the fault of the immigrants and that the country’s economy has come to rely on immigrant labor.

“Of course, you’re running a business, and if someone’s willing to work hard for you, you’re gonna hire that person and then you’re giving them a job that they get to feed a family on, and I thank you for that,” de Blasio told the supermarket owner, who called into the show as Thomas from Brooklyn.

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De Blasio, a Democrat, told the caller: “You should not be penalized for hiring someone, and they should not be penalized.”

De Blasio made the remarks during a discussion of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s immigration speech and trip to Mexico a day earlier. Trump had reiterated his support for building a wall between the United States and Mexico and deporting an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants. De Blasio deemed Trump’s appeal to black and Latino voters for support “a classic demagogue move” by pitting one group against another.

New York City under de Blasio has moved to the left on immigration issues, such as issuing city ID cards regardless of immigration status and barring the jailing of an arrestee based solely on the federal government’s claim that the person is in the country illegally. The City Council is also considering allowing a bill to allow non-citizens to vote.