New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman [official website] released a memo [text, PDF] on Thursday that provides model language to be used for immigration laws and policies in so-called “sanctuary cities” nationally. Schneiderman’s memo suggest not detaining undocumented inmates for the Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement unless a detainer request is accompanied by a judge’s order. The Obama administration used detainer requests to hold immigrants in jail while their legal status were verified. The memo also suggests limiting participation in federal immigration enforcement activities [press release] by refusing to enforce non-judicial civil immigration warrants, protecting Fourth Amendment [text] rights by refusing to detain individuals for more than 48 hours, limiting federal agencies’ access to individuals in custody, and limiting the amount of information that can be gathered and reported for immigration enforcement purposes. Schneiderman stated the reasons for his proposed policies:
Public safety relies on trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve. No local law enforcement agency should have to undercut that trust just to carry out Donald Trump’s draconian immigration policies. The legal guidance and model policies my office released today give local governments the tools they need to protect immigrant communities from any over-reach by federal agencies.
The memo received support from numerous mayors in New York who support protecting immigrants and maintain a strong bond between them and law enforcement.
US Immigration law [JURIST backgrounder] and immigrants’ rights has been hotly contested in the wake of President Donald Trump’s approach into office. In December a letter, signed by many US mayors, was delivered to Trump warning of the potential economic losses that could result if he repeals [JURIST report] Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) [official website]. In October the US Supreme Court denied [JURIST report] a petition to rehear a case regarding Obama’s immigration policy, which supports deferred action permitting around 4 million immigrants to legally remain and work in the US. In September the Ninth Circuit ruled that children facing deportation proceedings may not file a class action suit [JURIST report] to determine whether they are entitled to an attorney as a due process right. In December the Supreme Court heard a case [JURIST report] that would determine the permissible length of detention before a bond hearing is necessary.