This Thanksgiving illegal aliens who have been arrested by the New York City Police Department truly had reason to be thankful. Under Ordinance 656, approved overwhelmingly by the City Council and signed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Nov. 22, the city will no longer honor most requests by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to detain illegal aliens in police custody. Unless the alien meets certain narrow criteria, such as having a past criminal conviction or is on a terrorist watch list, the city will refuse to turn aliens over to ICE, or even notify ICE of their release. Even aliens who have criminal records as juveniles will be allowed back on the streets so long as they can make bail.

While other jurisdictions have complained about the additional costs of detaining deportable aliens for the federal government, New York City does not even make the pretense that Ordinance 656 is about money. In celebrating the signing of the ordinance, City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn made it clear that the purpose of the policy is to shield illegal aliens and expressed her hope that the ordinance “will serve as a national model for other states and cities to consider.”

Indeed, any state or city that puts the protection of illegal aliens ahead of the protection of public safety, can save the time and effort of writing their own ordinance. Thanks, New York.