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Republicans call to remove NYC’s Sanctuary City laws after an assault on cops

“We need to have the back of our police officers, we need to keep our city safe, and we need to deport individuals who are here, and are committing crimes against our citizenry,” Malliotakis, the sole Republican representing New York City in the House, said less than a block from where the attack occurred during a press conference Monday.

Conservatives have used the incident — in which a group of men kick at cops on the ground to ostensibly stop them from arresting someone — as a political rallying cry in the days before the Feb. 13 special election for New York’s 3rd Congressional District. The GOP candidate in the bellwether race has also sought to
portray her Democratic opponent as weak on the border.

Meanwhile, Republicans are criticizing Democratic Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg for not seeking bail for some of the men arrested in the case. Bragg has said the evidence
wasn’t sufficient, and Adams has defended his response.

Standing alongside Malliotakis and several conservative City Council members was Ken Genalo, director of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s New York City field office, who said: “Due to city policies and state law, cooperation is no longer afforded between NYPD, our law enforcement partners, and ICE. Unfortunately, a lot of the way that we have to do our intelligence at ICE is the same way you find out about cases, through the media.”

Removing sanctuary city policies wouldn’t likely get any of the men accused of the assaults out of the country — a mere criminal charge is not typically enough for an immigration judge to order a deportation.

Malliotakis said the NYPD’s “hands are tied,” but claimed that the Times Square melee caught on camera was one of just many crimes committed by migrants.

She said that this past fiscal year, ICE issued
109 detainer requests to the NYPD but none were honored due to sanctuary city policies.

Adams pushed back on Malliotakis’ presser at a wide-ranging media availability Monday, saying “the overwhelming number of the 175,000” migrants that have come through New York City’s care during his term are just pursuing the American dream. “No one is stopping ICE from doing their job. They have a job to do when you’re dealing with dangerous people such as that,” he added.

But Adams’ own words seemed to clash with those of his police commissioner who spoke later in the day.

“In recent months, a wave of migrant crime has washed over our city,” NYPD Commissioner Edward Caban said, adding, “by no means, do the individuals committing these crimes represent the vast number of people coming to New York to build a better life.”

2014 law limited the city’s cooperation with ICE, except in certain cases presenting a public safety risk. That, and related laws and orders over the years, make up New York’s sanctuary city policies. Adams brushed off questions of whether he wanted to change that policy, pointing out the City Council’s law-making role.

He suggested his concerns laid more broadly with criminal justice policies, saying: “I made it clear: you repeatedly commit felonies, dangerous crimes — if you’re found guilty, you should not be in our city.”

Bragg plans to present evidence in the case of the assault on the police officers to a grand jury on Tuesday. Some of the seven men initially arrested were released pending trial because Bragg said there wasn’t enough evidence to prove they committed serious enough crimes to request bail.

About 10 men were involved in the fight — the cause of which wasn’t immediately clear — and some of them haven’t yet been identified or arrested, a spokesperson for Bragg’s office told POLITICO.

“You can easily bring someone to justice, but you have to complete the task of making sure that the evidence is right so they can be held accountable for their action,” Adams said about Bragg on Monday. “Because you don’t want to make a mistake in this case. And I think that’s what he’s doing with his level of thoroughness.”

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