ICE DEPORTATIONS & THE CITY

Get the hard facts from City Comptroller Scott Stringer on the increase in arrests and deportations by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents (ICE) here in New York City, leaving families and entire communities on edge.

Aired on March 5 & September 6, 2019.

TRANSCRIPT

GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

I'M JENNA FLANAGAN.

A NEW REPORT BY THE COMPTROLLER'S OFFICE, DEPORTATIONS HAVING SURGED BY 150% CITYWIDE SINCE 2016.

THE STAGGERING STATISTIC SHOWS NEW YORK CITY IS NO LONGER THE SANCTUARY IT ONCE CLAIMED TO BE, BUT INSTEAD, A TARGET FOR IMMIGRANTS.

NOW COMPTROLLER SCOTT STRINGER STEPPING IN AND CALLING ON IMMIGRATION VADVOCATES AND LAWMAKERS TO PROTECT UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS AND HOW TO DO THAT.

WELCOME TO THE SHOW, MR.

STRINGER.

GOOD TO BE BACK.

ABSOLUTELY.

LET'S TALK ABOUT THIS REPORT THAT YOU, YOUR OFFICE HAS RELEASED.

WHAT HAVE YOU SEEN ABOUT THE INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF DEPORTATIONS FROM PEOPLE IN THE CITY?

WELL, FIRST OF ALL, WE ARE A SANCTUARY CITY.

THAT'S HOW WE WERE ALL BORN AND RAISED HERE TO BELIEVE THAT NO MATTER WHERE OUR PARENTS OR GRANDPARENTS CAME FROM OR WHEN THEY CAME HERE, ONCE THEY GOT HERE, THEY WERE PART OF THE FUTURE OF THIS CITY.

AND TO SEE THIS PRESIDENT NOW GOING AFTER AND TARGETING IMMIGRANTS IN NEW YORK CITY, THE SANCTUARY CITY, IS REALLY INCREDIBLY PROBLEMATIC AND FRIGHTENING.

WE DID A REPORT THAT SHOWED THERE'S AN INCREASE OF DEPORTATIONS UP TO 150% SINCE 2017.

WE NOW SEE THAT THERE'S AN 88% INCREASE IN ARRESTS OF IMMIGRANTS.

THAT'S NOT THE ASPIRATIONAL CITY WE WANT AND WE HAVE TO COME TOGETHER AS A CITY AND USE EVERY TOOL AT OUR DISPOSAL TO MAKE SURE THAT WE PROTECT THE IMMIGRANTS WHO COME TO OUR CITY AND MAKE SUCH AN INCREDIBLE ECONOMIC CONTRIBUTION, BUT THIS REPORT, I THINK, IS SOMETHING THAT PEOPLE SHOULD LOOK AT.

WHEN YOU SEE WHAT HAPPENS WHEN AN ENTIRE CITY IS TARGETED BY THE WHITE HOUSE.

THAT'S ACTUALLY REALLY INTERESTING, BECAUSE A LOT OF PEOPLE MIGHT PUSH BACK AND SAY, WELL, YOU KNOW, THERE WERE A RECORD NUMBER OF DEPORTATIONS UNDER THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION.

I MEAN, A SIGNIFICANT NUMBER OF PEOPLE WERE BEING DEPORTED FROM THE COUNTRY, SO WHAT'S MAKING THIS DIFFERENT?

YOU REALLY LOOK AT WHAT'S GOING ON, YOU SEE THAT THERE'S A 265% INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF IMMIGRANTS WHO ARE JUST BEING TAKEN OFF THE STREETS.

THEY DIDN'T COMMIT A CRIME.

THEY DON'T HAVE A CRIMINAL RECORD.

JUST TARGETED BECAUSE THEY HAPPEN TO BE IMMIGRANTS AND THAT GOES AGAINST WHAT A SANCTUARY CITY IS BECAUSE WHEN PEOPLE COME HERE, WE DON'T TARGET PEOPLE.

WE DON'T SEPARATE PARENTS FROM CHILDREN.

WE DON'T DO THAT STUFF.

WE LET PEOPLE LIVE AND LET LIVE AND THEN WE BUILD OUR ECONOMY AROUND THE STRONG IMMIGRANT CITY THIS IS.

I LIKE TO REMIND PEOPLE WHO GET CONFUSED ABOUT THIS SOMETIMES THAT IMMIGRANTS MAKE A TREMENDOUS ECONOMIC CONTRIBUTION TO NEW YORK CITY.

THEY EARN $100 BILLION IN INCOME EVERY YEAR.

THEY PAY BILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN TAXES.

THEY'RE NOW IN MEDIA AND CULTURE AND BUSINESS AND THIS CITY COULD NOT THRIVE WITHOUT OUR IMMIGRANTS.

CONSIDERING THE FACT THAT NEW YORK WAS SUPPOSED TO BE A SANCTUARY CITY, WAS, AT LEAST, ACCORDING TO THIS REPORT, PART OF THE WAY THAT WAS SUPPOSED TO WORK IS THAT THE NYPD WAS NOT GOING TO BE WORKING WITH ORGANIZATIONS LIKE ICE, ET CETERA, TO AID IN THESE DEPORTATIONS.

HOW HAS THIS ACCELERATED SO FAST IF THE NYPD IS BEING HANDS OFF?

WE HAVE TO CONTINUE TO MONITOR THIS.

THE REPORT DID NOT ADDRESS THE NYPD, IN THIS PARTICULAR REPORT.

WE HAVE TRADITIONALLY HAD A HANDS OFF POLICY WHICH I THINK IS VERY IMPORTANT AND CRITICAL TO REMAIN OR CONTINUE, HOPE TO BE A SANCTUARY CITY, BUT I THINK THE NUMBERS HERE SHOW THAT WE HAVE TO DO MORE, BE MORE VIGILANT.

ONE OF THE THINGS WE CAN PASS IS AN INITIATIVE SPONSORED BY 100 ORGANIZATIONS I'VE BEEN SPEARHEADING WHICH IS TO DEFER OR WIPE OUT THE AMOUNT OF MONEY IT COSTS TO BECOME A CITIZEN.

WE ESTIMATE THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS HAVE TO BE SPENT AND IF YOU'RE MAKING VERY LITTLE MONEY, WHAT'S THE CHOICE?

YOU DELAY CITIZENSHIP BECAUSE YOU WANT TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR CHILDREN OR MAKE THAT EXTRA RENT PAYMENT.

I SUGGEST WE REMOVE THE FINANCIAL BARRIER TO BECOMING A CITIZEN AND GO A LONG WAY TO THOSE BECOMING CITIZENS AND DRIVE ICE AWAY BECAUSE WE HAVE A GREAT PATH TO CITIZENSHIP.

NEW YORK IS SUCH A MULTICULTURAL CITY AND YET, SO MUCH ABOUT THE IMMIGRATION DEBATE FOCUSED ON, OR AT LEAST THE PRESIDENT'S FOCUS HAS BEEN TOWARDS LATINOS WHO MIGHT BE CROSSING OVER THE BORDER UNDOCUMENTED, ET CETERA.

WHAT WAS YOUR REPORT ABLE TO FIND ABOUT THE KINDS OR THE ETHNICITIES OF THE IMMIGRANTS ACTUALLY BEING TARGETED AND DEPORTED?

IT'S MUCH VARIED.

ONE THING ABOUT ICE, THEY DON'T DISCRIMINATE.

THEY GO AFTER EVERYBODY.

WE SAW 20% OF THE DEPORTATIONS ARE IN THE ASIAN COMMUNITY AND THAT WAS VERY SURPRISING BECAUSE YOU ONLY THINK ABOUT THE LATINO COMMUNITY BUT PEOPLE FROM ALL DIFFERENT COUNTRIES ARE BEING TARGETED.

THIS IS NOT JUST ONE GROUP OF PEOPLE, BUT IT'S A CAMPAIGN AGAINST IMMIGRANTS IN GENERAL AND I WANT TO SAY THE STATISTIC THAT'S JUST FRIGHTENING IS THE ONE THAT SAYS 265% OF THE DEPORTATIONS ARE PEOPLE WHO JUST WALKED DOWN THE STREET, OR THEY WENT TO A COURT APPEARANCE, OR THEY TOOK A CHILD TO SCHOOL.

THEY'RE DOING THE RIGHT THING, LIVING THEIR LIVES AND CONTRIBUTING TO SOCIETY, AND THEN TO BE PICKED OFF THE STREET IN THE DEAD OF NIGHT OR EARLY IN THE MORNING.

IT'S JUST NOT THE AMERICA THAT WE BELIEVE IT SHOULD BE.

LET ME TURN, EVEN THOUGH THIS REPORT IS ABOUT IMMIGRATION, THE CITY BUDGET, THAT'S SOMETHING YOU WEIGHED IN ON AND THE WAY SPENDING SHOULD BE HANDLED GOING FORWARD WITH THE CITY AND I JUST WANTED YOU TO EXPAND ON THAT IN THE CITY.

THE CITY BUDGET PROPOSED BY THE MAYOR IS $92.2 BILLION.

WE TAKE A LOOK AT THAT BUDGET THROUGH THE LENS OF HOW WE CAN IMPROVE THE LIVES OF NEW YORKERS AND A LOT OF GOOD INITIATIVES WITHIN THAT BUDGET BUT ONE OF THE LESSONS WE'VE LEARNED DURING HARD FISCAL TIMES IS WHEN WE HAVE BUDGET CUTS, THEY END UP TARGETING THE MOST VULNERABLE PEOPLE IN THE CITY.

THE PEOPLE HANGING BY A THREAD.

PEOPLE WHO ARE STRUGGLING.

NEW YORK AND THOSE SOCIAL PROGRAMS TEND TO BE THE FIRST TO GO.

I WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT NEVER HAPPENS IN TOUGH BUDGET TIMES AND THE BEST WAY TO PREVENT THAT IS BY HAVING A ROBUST SAVINGS PLAN.

I APPLAUD THE MAYOR FOR LISTENING TO WHAT OUR OFFICE HAS BEEN SAYING FOR FIVE YEARS, BY NOW, LOOKING AT AGENCIES, FINDING IF THERE'S EFFICIENCIES TO SAVE US MONEY.

THAT MONEY GETS PUT AWAY FOR A RAINY DAY.

SO IF WE HAVE A HURRICANE OR A TERRORIST ATTACK OR SOME UNFORESEEN CIRCUMSTANCE WHICH DEPLETES OUR RESOURCES, WE'LL BE ABLE TO HOLD THE FOUNDATION OF OUR CITY TOGETHER.

WE HAVE TO DO MORE SAVINGS AND WE'VE HAD NINE YEARS OF RECORD SURPLUS, WE SHOULD NOT BE AT THE BOTTOM OF THE SAVINGS PLAN.

WE SHOULD BE AT THE TOP.

I ALSO WANTED TO ASK YOU ABOUT THRIVE NYC.

THIS WAS A PROGRAM OR INITIATIVE THAT STARTED WITH WHAT SEEMS LIKE THE BEST OF INTENTIONS BUT DOESN'T SEEM TO BE HOW THINGS ARE SHAKING OUT.

IS THAT FAIR TO SAY?

I THINK THRIVE IS AN IMPORTANT MENTAL HEALTH INITIATIVE THAT CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE FOR THE CITY AND I APPLAUD THE MAYOR AND THE FIRST LADY.

IT'S SOMETHING WE HAVE TO CONTINUE TO FOCUS ON.

PEOPLE LANGUISHING IN HOMELESS SHELTERS ARE PEOPLE WHO SUFFER MENTAL ILLNESS AND WE HAVE TO ADDRESS IT.

HOW WE'RE ADDRESSING IT, SPENDING $850 MILLION EXAMINING IT AND EXAMINE THE BOOKS, MONEY IS SPENT IN THE WAY IT SHOULD BE AND MEASURE RESULTS.

THAT'S MY JOB.

EVERYONE IN THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, THRIVE, HOMELESS SHELTERS, BECAUSE THAT'S MY JOB.

I HAVE TO HOLD THE MAYOR AND HIS ADMINISTRATION ACCOUNTABLE.

WHEN I FOCUS I FIND THEY DO A BETTER JOB.

WHEN I FOCUS ON ISSUES OF FINANCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY, IT MAKES OUR GOVERNMENT STRONG AND I'LL CONTINUE TO DO THAT.

I THINK FINANCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY IN GOVERNMENT IS A GREAT PLATFORM TO RUN FOR MAYOR ON.

IS THAT SOMETHING?

HOW ABOUT THIS?

IT'S A GREAT WAY TO HONOR THE COMMITMENT I MADE TO PEOPLE IN THE CITY, THAT I WOULD BE AN AGGRESSIVE COMPTROLLER, TAKE ON THE TOUGH FIGHTS.

NOT BE AFRAID OF TOUGH CORPORATIONS OR MAYORAL CONTROL OR THE MAYORAL GOVERNMENT AND I'VE BEEN AN INDEPENDENT STEWARD OF OUR FINANCIALS AND TAKE PEOPLE ON BECAUSE I REPRESENT PEOPLE IN THE CITY STRUGGLING TO GET BY AND THE ROLE I CONTINUE TO PLAY.

DO YOU BELIEVE THAT WILL HELP YOU STAND OUT IN FUTURE MAYORAL RACE?

THAT SEEMS TO BE FAR AWAY BUT AS I CONSIDER THAT POSSIBLE RUN, THE BEST WAY I CAN SHOW PEOPLE IN THE CITY THAT I LOVE NEW YORK IS BY DOING THE JOB I'VE BEEN ELECTED TO DO AND WHAT COMES DOWN THE ROAD COMES DOWN THE ROAD.

ALL RIGHT, WELL, WE LOOK FORWARD TO FOLLOWING WHAT COMES DOWN THE ROAD.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US.

THANK YOU.

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