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New York City Mayor Eric Adams has suggested changes to the city’s sanctuary city legislation, proposing that migrants who commit violent crimes be eligible for deportation.

In a statement, Mayor Adams said, “The overwhelming amount of migrants that are here, they want to work.” He continued, “But those small numbers that are committing crimes, we need to modify the sanctuary city law that if you commit a felony, a violent act, we should be able to turn you over to [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] and have you deported. It is a right to live in this city, and you should not be committing crimes in our city. Right now, we don’t have the authority to do so.”

New York City’s sanctuary city policy, established in 1989 and expanded in 2014, currently prohibits city cooperation with any federal immigration enforcement. In very few circumstances, the city will cooperate with federal immigration officers.

The Mayor’s proposal emerges amidst growing scrutiny over migration into the city and his administration’s continued plea for federal assistance to facilitate work visas and additional housing support for migrants. Despite the Mayor’s call for legislative support to enact these changes, City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams has indicated no immediate plans to address the policy revisions.


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