Bill Requires Cops To Report Arrests To Immigration
Citing two serious crimes occurring in Northeast Queens that were committed by illegal immigrants, state Senator Frank Padavan authored a bill requiring state and local police to verify and report the citizenship status of persons arrested under state law. The bill was passed by the senate April 19.
"I want to know that these people are being referred to the proper federal authorities and that steps are being taken to get them out of this country," Padavan declared.
"This isn’t about profiling," he stated. "It’s about taking people already being charged with a crime and checking out their immigration status."
One of the cases alluded to by Padavan (R–C, Bellerose) was the recent arrest of a large group of Colombian immigrants "here illegally," Padavan said, who have been charged with more than 300 house burglaries in Flushing, Whitestone, Bayside and other affluent Northeast Queens communities.
Padavan noted, "a number of them had prior arrest records." During one of the robberies, he added, "a woman was raped in her own home while her children slept."
The veteran lawmaker also stated, "There is no indication that any of the 52 arrested individuals associated with these robberies have been referred to the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. This is outrageous."
The huge burglary ring is awaiting possible grand jury indictments by Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.
Under Padavan’s bill, now awaiting action by the Assembly, state and/or local police who make an arrest would be mandated to verify citizenship status of the person apprehended and report the suspect’s status to the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (BICE).
Padavan said his bill would prohibit local governments, including the City of New York, from seeking to prevent or limit cooperation between local law enforcement and federal agencies on matters of immigration.
He pointed out that until last year, the Police Department, operating under a Koch administrative executive order essentially providing illegal immigrants with "sanctuary," was not required to cooperate with federal agencies regarding the immigration status of individuals.
"In December 2002, three of four suspected rapists in a brutal Flushing area attack against a woman and her boyfriend, were found to be illegal immigrants with prior arrest records. As a result of media stories and coverage of the immigration status of the suspects, the Bloomberg [mayoral] administration rescinded the executive order," Padavan said.
A huge outcry from immigration rights advocates followed, and Bloomberg subsequently relented and adopted the same policy that had been in effect since the Koch administration.
Padavan continued: "In the wake of September 11 and the increasing threat of terrorism here at home, cooperation between state and local agencies [and] the federal government is essential. We know now, from testimony offered to the 9/11 Commission in Washington, that cooperation between agencies is essential for our safety and to prevent future attacks.
"We also know that when immigration statutes are not enforced because of lack of cooperation between agencies, our quality of life suffers because of local, everyday crimes."
He added, "Not only is enforcing cooperation between local law enforcement and federal authorities a matter of national security, it is also a matter of security in our homes and neighborhoods. The time has come for the Assembly to pass this legislation."
The bill has passed the senate on six separate occasions, Padavan said, and on every occasion the Assembly, controlled by Democrats, has failed to pass it. "I hope that the residents of Northeastern Queens who were robbed by this gang, and people from all over the city and state would urge passage of this bill in the Assembly," the senator declared.
"If the Assembly doesn’t pass this legislation, they owe an explanation and an apology to every victim of a crime perpetrated by an illegal immigrant with a prior arrest record in New York State."