Originally Published in The Los Angeles Times.
By ELIZABETH ELIZALDE and FRANK G. RUNYEON| NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
FEB 21, 2019
President Trump is targeting New York City immigrants for deportation, according to a new report by the city controller.
New York had the biggest increase in non-criminal deportations over a two-year period mostly under the Trump administration compared to other cities, the report found, while overall deportations in the city by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents more than doubled in that time.
“Our new analysis of ICE data reveals for the first time that New York City has seen a staggering increase in immigration enforcement compared to other major U.S. cities,” Controller Scott Stringer said Thursday.
The report, “The Demographics of Detention: Immigration Enforcement in NYC Under Trump,” said deportations jumped 150% between October 2016 and October 2018 — from 1,037 to 2,593. Trump took office in January 2017.
“That's 1,500 more people taken away from their families, their children and their friends and their jobs with little chance that they'll ever return,” Stringer said.
Deportations of New York residents with no past criminal convictions soared 266% — from 313 to 1,144, the report said. It was the largest increase of any of the two dozen ICE field offices in the country.
“Just picked off the streets in the dead of night at their homes,” Stringer said. “When it comes to non-criminal deportations, we found New York City has seen the highest increase compared to other cities like Boston, Detroit, Chicago and New Orleans.
“Our investigation shows it's no accident New York City is the President's target, and he's going after New Yorkers from around the globe,” Stringer added.
Overall ICE arrests in New York are up 88%, the third-largest increase among ICE field offices, behind Denver and Chicago, the report found.
Agustina Perez, 28, of East Harlem, says her family experienced ICE's tactics first-hand in April 2018, when agents came to her home and arrested her mother Rebecca, 46, and took her to the ICE field office in lower Manhattan.
The agents pulled up in a black SUV, wore vests and identified themselves as “police” but not “NYPD,” according to Perez.
When her 24-year-old brother answered the door, the agents said, “We have some questions.” The agents barged in and only then identified themselves as ICE agents, saying they had a warrant out for their mother, Perez said.
“They said, ‘police’ but it was deceiving because you knock and you hear police, you think it's police,” she said. “Now because of that, my mom is scared to even see a police officer. She thinks (cops) side with (ICE) and they work with them."
Perez said her mother, an undocumented housekeeper, came to the U.S. from Mexico in 1990. She's currently at home and regularly goes to ICE check-ins.
“Every check-in that we go to, we're not sure we're going to be able to come back with her so we always say our goodbyes without wanting to,” said Perez, adding it would be “heartbreaking” if her mother was deported.
In a statement to The News Thursday, ICE said it “focuses its enforcement resources on individuals who pose a threat to national security, public safety and border security. However, ICE no longer exempts classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement. All of those in violation of immigration laws may be subject to immigration arrest, detention and, if found removable by final order, removal from the United States.”