NYC Mayor Eric Adams Seeks Changes to Sanctuary City Law

Amid rising crime, NYC rethinks its immigration stance.

by Nouman Rasool
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NYC Mayor Eric Adams Seeks Changes to Sanctuary City Law
© Spencer Platt/Getty Images

In a compelling appeal for legislative reform, New York City Mayor Eric Adams has urged local lawmakers to amend the city's sanctuary policy, advocating for the deportation of migrants convicted of committing violent crimes.

This push for change emerges amidst growing scrutiny over the influx of migrants into New York City, a topic that has drawn critical attention from both lawmakers and law enforcement officials. Mayor Adams, alongside New York Governor Kathy Hochul, has been vocal in their calls for the Biden administration and Congress to extend further support to migrants by facilitating work visas and enhancing housing assistance.

Speaking at a recent event, Mayor Adams highlighted the paradox in the federal government's stance on migrant labor. "The overwhelming majority of migrants arriving here are eager to work. It's baffling that the federal government restricts their employment rights, rights that have been historically granted to immigrants in this country," he remarked.

Adams underscored the need for legal adjustments to the sanctuary city law, emphasizing that individuals who engage in felonious and violent acts should be handed over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for deportation.

"Living in this city is a privilege, not a license to commit crimes. Unfortunately, under the current law, we lack the authority to take such necessary actions," Adams added.

Sanctuary Policy Revisited

This call for policy revision follows several high-profile violent incidents involving migrants, including a recent case where a tourist was shot during a robbery in Times Square.

New York City, known for pioneering the sanctuary city policy in 1989 and further strengthening it in 2014, has traditionally resisted cooperation with federal immigration authorities. The policy, now adopted by numerous cities across the country, has increasingly become a focal point in the broader political debate on immigration.

Reiterating his stance in a press conference, Mayor Adams declared, "Individuals who exhibit violence and repeatedly break the law do not deserve the privilege of residing in our city. It's unjust for a few to mar the reputation of the vast majority who abide by our laws." However, effecting such a change would require substantial support from the city's legislature, a challenge highlighted by City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams' recent statement indicating no immediate plans to pursue any modifications to the sanctuary policy.

This stance has sparked reactions, including from Rep. Troy Nehls (R-Texas), who criticized the sanctuary city policy, suggesting that even its proponents are disillusioned by its outcomes.

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