NYC is No Sanctuary City: 
Criminalization Leads To Deportation Under Broken Windows

March 7th, 2016 (New York) — Mayor Bill de Blasio’s recent comments reveal his commitment to Broken Windows policing despite the deportation risks associated with low-level, so-called “quality-of-life” enforcement.

“If ICE pursues someone — unfortunately, we don’t always agree with them, but they’re going to do what they’re going to do.” 
Mayor Bill de Blasio

Since the Mayor has made it clear that he is choosing to uphold a racist, disproved policing theory, rather than protect the fate of Black and Brown communities, including immigrants in New York, our efforts to protect New Yorkers are clearer than ever: get rid of Broken Windows policing and get rid of any elected official that maintains it, or similar systems, in place.

“Nothing going on now is changing our resolve to enforce quality of life policing,” the Mayor said this week. Shortly after Trump’s inauguration, de Blasio even said he’d be willing to expand a list of deportable crimes.

These comments are in stark contrast to the soaring rhetoric de Blasio used when giving speeches heralding NYC as a sanctuary for immigrants in response to President Donald Trump’s executive orders.

As experts, advocates and journalists have continually pointed out, “quality of life policing,” or Broken Windows, is the pretext used to harass and surveil our communities and it’s part and parcel of the deportation machine. His rhetoric, it turns out, is not based in facts, but rather empty political posturing de Blasio is using to try to stay in office on an election year.

De Blasio boasts that NYC is a sanctuary city because NYC’s detainer laws prohibit NYPD from collaborating with ICE by physically handing over immigrants. But he refuses to be honest and connect the dots: Black and Brown communities (from street vendors and subway performers to NYCHA residents and immigrants) face unnecessary and constant forms of predatory policing from the NYPD that, in the case of immigrants, too often lead to deportation.

Over-policing, surveillance, and criminalization of Black & Brown communities lead to arrests and fingerprint scans, which ICE routinely utilizes to track immigrants at their homes, at work, and in the courts. In essence, even with detainer laws, NYPD collaborates with ICE by sharing data and information of New Yorkers, which provides a structure and funnel to deportation. If police officers could, they would collaborate even more. The country’s largest police union openly supported Trump, and stocks in the private prison industry are rising dramatically. As NYPD sergeants union president Ed Mullins describes it:

“Make no mistake about it, the members of law enforcement in the NYPD want to cooperate with ICE. I speak to cops every day — they want to cooperate with ICE, they want to work with fellow law enforcement agents.”

The language from the Mayor’s office that “law-abiding” immigrants will be protected doesn’t offer anything much better. This perspective pits New Yorkers against the most vulnerable, criminalized communities and gives fuel to the idea that some immigrants are “deserving,” while others are not.

Last week, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, de Blasio’s partner in crime, reiterated that false, divisive “law-abiding” narrative. Her push to add nearly 1,300 cops to the the NYPD and her refusal to tackle Broken Windows policing keeps the communities of color she represents in harm’s way.

The Criminal Justice Reform Act, pushed forth by de Blasio and Viverito, entrusts the NYPD with total discretion to pursue either civil summonses or criminal penalties for low-level offenses. Civil summonses are not the “solution” to the problems of incarceration and Broken Windows policing. They merely function as a de facto tax on poor and low-income communities with the NYPD as armed collectors, removing limited financial resources and maintaining the same level of antagonistic interactions with the community.

On a national level, Trump’s executive orders aim for mass displacement and amount to ethnic cleansing of immigrants in the United States. Locally, de Blasio’s policies do little to protect New Yorkers from displacement and gentrification while his policing framework aids Trump’s national efforts toward social cleansing. De Blasio’s decision to side with landlords and developers, instead of securing housing as a fundamental human right, maintains racial and economic segregation in NYC.

The growing movement in the streets against Trump’s racist, sexist, islamophobic, transphobic, and xenophobic agenda includes resistance to the federal government’s deportation machine established by previous Democratic administrations.

Powerful grassroots movements have been at the forefront, connecting all the dots between criminalization, deportation, and incarceration. Our immigrant rally in February brought our communities together to protest Broken Windows policing and place a spotlight on the hypocrisy of de Blasio’s administration.

This is an urgent moment for millions of immigrant families, and Black and Brown communities will not be satisfied by empty rhetoric. Black and Brown communities will fight for the right of all of us to remain.

Politicians who claim to be part of any ‘resistance’ will be evaluated based on their actions — not just their words.

We demand that NYC truly be a sanctuary city by stopping all collaboration, physical and logistical, between NYPD and ICE. We demand an immediate end to Broken Windows policing and for the city to divest from policing and invest in our communities, as laid out by grassroots groups and everyday New Yorkers.

Politicians that latch onto racist policies that keep our communities at risk will be displaced and pushed out of the door. The movement in the streets will come steadfast for those who are responsible for criminalizing, incarcerating, and deporting our community members. That’s what real resistance looks like.

Which side are you on?

Answer Coalition —
Coalition To End Broken Windows —
El Grito De Sunset Park —
Equality for Flatbush : E4F —
Families for Freedom —
International Action Center —
Mi Casa No Es Su Casa: Illumination Against Gentrification
Peoples Power Assemblies —
Queens Neighborhoods United —
Why Accountability —
Women’s Fight Back Network —
Worker’s World Party —