Mayoral candidate Nicole Malliotakis outlined her position on New York City’s so-called sanctuary status on Wednesday — pledging to uphold policies that bar city employees from inquiring about the immigration status of individuals, while also calling for more cooperation with federal immigration agents.
Malliotakis, the presumptive GOP nominee, speaking at a news conference outside City Hall, embraced the “sanctuary” policies of past mayors, including Ed Koch, but also vowed to dismantle policies enacted by Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio that block the NYPD and city correction officers from cooperating freely with federal immigration authorities.
“I will continue the sanctuary policy that had been put in place by Ed Koch . . . and reiterated by every mayor and expanded by Michael Bloomberg, but I will not tolerate or support a policy that protects individuals who are committing crimes against immigrants and citizens here in the city of New York,” Malliotakis said.
In 2014, de Blasio signed into law a package of legislation approved by the City Council that booted Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents from Rikers Island, the city’s massive jail facility, and limited the range of inmate information the city would share with ICE investigators.
The legislation also blocks city law enforcement agents from turning over inmates to federal authorities, unless there is a probable cause warrant issued, the inmate is on a terrorist watch list, or the inmate was convicted of a serious or violent felony in the past five years.
Malliotakis said if elected, she would negotiate with Democrats and immigration advocates to expand the list of serious crimes the city uses to determine whether an inmate should be handed over to federal authorities. The list of 170 offenses includes rape, murder and robbery, but Malliotakis argued it should include more offenses such as grand larceny, drunken driving and forceable touching.
As President Donald Trump has ramped up deportation efforts, de Blasio has repeatedly defended the city’s policy, saying the NYPD should not serve as local immigration enforcers.
“Mayor de Blasio will not turn the NYPD into a deportation force that helps break apart families,” de Blasio campaign spokesman Dan Levitan said in a statement.