Truth, Inspiration, Hope.

NYC Mayor Eric Adams Appears to Suggest Walking Back the City’s Sanctuary City Status

Published: February 28, 2024
New York City's Mayor Eric Adams speaks to the media as he takes part in a gun control protest, March For Our Lives, on June 11, 2022 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Image: Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images)

On Feb. 27, during a regular press conference, New York City Mayor Eric Adams appeared to suggest walking back New York’s sanctuary city status when it comes to migrants who commit crimes.

A sanctuary city is a city that limits or denies its cooperation with the federal government in enforcing immigration law. 

New York City has had sanctuary city laws in force since 1989. In 1989, then-mayor Ed Koch issued an executive order that prevented local officials from “transmit[ting] information respecting any alien to federal immigration authorities” unless in connection with criminal activity.

“I want to go back to the standards of the previous mayors who I believe subscribe to my belief that people who are suspected of committing serious crimes in the city should be held accountable,” Adams said, adding that, “I think that New Yorkers have a right to be safe.”

Adams said that he believes his administration should cooperate more with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials to deport migrants “suspected” of carrying out “serious” crimes in the city.

His comments come after a slew of criminal incidents involving recently arrived migrants to the city.


What about due process?

During the press conference one reporter asked about a migrants right to due process to which Adams shot back, “They didn’t give due process to the person that they shot or punched or killed. There’s just a philosophical disagreement here.”

“They could have due process, but we should be communicating with ICE,” he said. “And if ICE makes the determination of deporting, then they should.”

Officials clarified that Adams was referring to migrants who allegedly commit major felonies or are repeat offenders.

The city’s sanctuary city laws have been amended several times over the years. In 2014 for example a law was passed that “prohibited the city from honoring ICE detainers if someone is suspected of a crime or even convicted of a crime unless certain exceptions were met,” the NY Post reported.

That policy was amended again in 2017.

“There’s a bar, and the operation of those two laws essentially placed strong limitations on the city’s ability to cooperate or to provide even just notification to federal authorities, “City Hall chief counsel Lisa Zornberg said. 

Zornberg added that the policies are for local elected officials to “reexamine,” however NYC Council Speaker Adrienne Adams’ office said this would not happen, pointing to comments made earlier in Feb. when the council leader said there were no plans to revisit sanctuary laws. 

High profile incidents, involving crimes perpetrated by recently arrived migrants have pushed the city’s sanctuary status into the limelight, including an assault on two NYPD officers, a massive robbery and a shooting that wounded a tourist. 

Adams said on Tuesday that a small number of migrants should not be able to “hide under” the city’s laws intended on assisting migrants.

“I believe New York should be safe and the migrants and asylum seekers that are doing the right thing should not be caught up with those who are not doing the right thing,” Hizzoner said.