New York mayor Michael Bloomberg has signed a law that will change the way the city's Department of Corrections treats certain undocumented immigrants.
Historically, when the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement requested that the department keep undocumented immigrants at Riker's Island prison for an additional 48 hours after the conclusion of their cases, the department honored such requests.
In the future, New York City will not comply with such requests in certain instances. These include situations in which the immigrant does not face any pending charges; does not have a criminal record; and is not on the terrorism watch list.
The new approach could reduce by half the number of immigrants who are held after the conclusion of their cases.
The city's move appeared to be partly in response to concerns voiced by immigrants and their families, activists and organizations. As he signed the bill, Mayor Bloomberg praised immigrants' contributions to the city's culture, vitality and economy.
Treatment of Some New York DWI Arrestees Could Change
For a number of undocumented immigrants arrested on suspicion of DWI, the new law could have a positive effect. Immigrants who do not have a criminal record and do not face charges of DWI, even after the arrest, could be released at the conclusion of their cases rather than held for an additional 48 hours at the behest of ICE.
New York's DWI laws are strict, particularly with the introduction of Leandra's Law. People arrested for DWI, whether or not they are immigrants, face a long road. For undocumented immigrants, however, the journey can seem endless. New York City's new approach to ICE may clear the path a little.