Dear Editor:

We are extremely disappointed by the omissions and mischaracterizations in Michelle Chen’s article “Is New York City Partnering With ICE to Rip Apart Immigrant Communities?” published on August 13th on the Nation website.

The administration takes issues related to immigration enforcement and detainers very seriously. Mayor de Blasio and his team—including Immigrant Affairs Commissioner Nisha Agarwal, who is widely respected for her advocacy work on immigrant rights—have been consistent public champions of limiting the New York City Police Department’s cooperation with the federal program Secure Communities, run by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The blog post also fails to acknowledge the work that the de Blasio administration has done in its first months to improve the lives of NYC immigrants—which is clearly reflected in our budget priorities. From the creation of a municipal ID program to the expansion of paid sick leave and reforms to the stop-and-frisk policy, our agenda is dedicated to lifting the lives of the most vulnerable New Yorkers—many of them immigrants.

Finally, the blog post wrongly casts the administration as failing on its promise to reduce inequality and help immigrants. In fact, Mayor Bill de Blasio is a vocal supporter of comprehensive immigration reform and has publicly stated that, in the absence of federal action, municipalities must take the lead in improving the lives of immigrant families. We have expressed concerns about the NYPD-ICE collaboration, and made it very clear that we are revising the policy with the precise goal of reducing unfair deportations.

Maibe Ponet
Deputy Press Secretary
Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Office

Michelle Chen responds: Thank you for your feedback. It is heartening to see the de Blasio administration working to develop an equitable solution to the problem of ICE detainers and Secure Communities, after so many years of delay and political tumult. As we acknowledged in the article, though city agencies’ compliance with ICE detainers continues, the efforts to stop the scourge of mass deportation are ongoing. I hope to one day report on the city's implementation of an effective end to the harmful effects of these policies for all non-citizens, including those with prior convictions.