Report: Mayor Adams in talks with ICE over sanctuary policy


(The Center Square) — New York City Mayor Eric Adams is reportedly in talks with federal immigration officials about limiting the city’s “sanctuary” policies to help stem an ongoing surge of asylum seekers.

Ken Genalo, the city’s regional field director for U.S. Immigration and Customs Services, has been meeting with the Adams administration to discuss the city’s strict rules preventing local law enforcement from cooperating with immigration crackdowns, according to the New York Post, which says the two sides are “making progress” in the closed-door negotiations.

“I’ve been working with the mayor’s office, I have had dialogue with them,” Genalo told the newspaper. “I give them kudos — the prior administration under Mr. de Blasio … there was no dialogue at all.”

Genalo told the Post that he was pushing for the city to amend its sanctuary policy, allowing local law enforcement to honor more ICE detainer requests. He said that would give ICE deportation officers more time to apprehend individuals held by local authorities instead of waiting until they are released into the communities to arrest them.

New York City has seen an influx of more than 160,000 asylum seekers over the past two years amid a historic surge of immigration along the U.S.-Mexico border. The city spent $1.45 billion in fiscal year 2023 on migrant costs and expects to spend $10 billion on migrants over the next two fiscal years, according to the Adams administration.

Adams and law enforcement officials have cited shootings, shoplifting rings and even assaults on NYPD officers as examples of alleged crimes being committed by migrants, which has sparked public criticism that the influx of new arrivals are bringing criminals with them.

To be sure, Adams has been more open than other New York City Democrats to changing the sanctuary policy and right-to-shelter law to dissuade more migrants from seeking refuge in the city.

In April, Adams said the city’s sanctuary status should be changed to allow migrants charged with crimes to be turned over to federal immigration officials for deportation to help weed out the “small numbers” of migrants who commit major crimes.

Last year, Adams set a 60-day limit on the length of stay in city-run homeless shelters but has also been seeking to relocate migrants to other regions of the state. He later reduced that to 30 days for adults, which was met with pushback and legal challenges from local officials. In March, Adams reached an agreement with homeless and immigration advocates to finalize the changes.

Under New York’s right-to-shelter law, the city must provide emergency housing to anyone who requests it, regardless of their immigration status.

Republicans have long said New York City’s sanctuary policies are encouraging asylum seekers to resettle in the city amid the surge of immigration.

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