The New York City Council has asked Mayor Bill de Blasio for up to $23 million in funding for programs to support illegal aliens residing in New York. Included in these costs are $12 million to pay for the legal representation for illegal aliens who are removable under federal law.
Removal proceedings, as well as asylum and other adjustment of status proceedings, are civil proceedings. Publicly funded legal representation for civil proceedings is generally something that is not provided to U.S. citizens who face civil legal issues, such as foreclosures, evictions proceedings, child custody cases, or divorce proceedings. Aliens who wish to be represented by legal counsel are free to do so, but federal law stipulates that it must be at no cost to the government.
Additionally, the Council’s budget proposal includes a $1 million fund for a “rapid response team” of lawyers to directly engage with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) when an officer attempts to initiate enforcement proceedings. The Council also wants to create an “immigrant resource center” in all five boroughs to provide social services and education for illegal aliens, estimated to cost approximately $1.9 and $1.4 million respectively. In total, the Council is proposing to spend as much as $23 million to provide special services to illegal aliens.
The NYC Council is also responsible for New York City’s status of as a sanctuary city. In October 2014, the City Council updated its sanctuary ordinances to shield criminal aliens from immigration enforcement by prohibiting city law enforcement from cooperating with ICE in almost all cases. In addition to prohibiting compliance with ICE detainers, the ordinance goes as far as to prohibit federal officials from using city facilities for the purpose of conducting interviews with inmates in city prisons.
“It’s almost as if the City Council is more interested in protecting illegal immigrants than the safety of the very citizens they represent,” commented Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis last year, after she joined several lawmakers in Albany to require New York law enforcement to cooperate with ICE.
The NYC Council’s proposals come in direct conflict with the policy of the federal government. Earlier this week, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions emphasized the Department of Justice’s renewed commitment to immigration enforcement during a visit to the United States-Mexico border in Nogales, Arizona. Additionally, Attorney General Sessions recently warned sanctuary cities of the Department of Justice’s plans to revoke funding from cities with policies that conflict with federal law.