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Congressman Dan Donovan

Representing the 11th District of New York


Donovan Calls on City to Drop Sanctuary Policies

October 24, 2017
Press Release
City has until October 27 to respond to Dept. of Justice or it will lose DOJ grant funding

Staten Island, NY – October 24, 2017….Congressman Dan Donovan (NY-11) today called on the City of New York to adjust its sanctuary policies to comply with federal law instead of risking the loss of Department of Justice (DOJ) grants. On October 11, DOJ notified the City of New York that it must adjust its sanctuary policies to maintain eligibility for the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants Program (Byrne JAG), which provided $4.3 million to the City last year.

Congressman Donovan said, “Cities shouldn’t be able to pick and choose which laws to follow. The federal law is clear: the City cannot instruct law enforcement agents to withhold information on immigration status from federal authorities. New York City should adjust its policies to comply with federal law.”

In one example of the City’s non-compliance, DOJ cites a section of New York Administrative Code stating the Department of Correction may not “honor a civil immigration detainer…by notifying federal immigration authorities of [a] person’s release.” To remain eligible for Byrne JAG grants, DOJ says the City must certify that it does not restrict the Department of Correction from sharing release information with the federal government, and that the City has communicated this interpretation to its employees.

Donovan, a former prosecutor, has long opposed sanctuary cities that refuse to comply with or enforce the law. Earlier this year, he voted in support of Kate’s Law, which enhances criminal penalties for deported felons who return to the United States so they’re not free to commit further crimes. He also voted in support of the Criminal Alien Gang Member Removal Act, which updates immigration law to permit deportation of known members of a criminal gang who are in the country illegally.

Donovan also voted against legislation that would have ended anti-terror initiatives in New York City as a consequence of being a sanctuary city. In a joint op-ed with Congressman Peter King (NY-2), the lawmakers wrote:

[The bill] would make New York City ineligible for hundreds of millions of dollars every year that go toward thwarting terror attacks. These dollars have no connection to immigration whatsoever, except for the fact that the NYPD hunts down terror threats and also sometimes arrests illegal aliens.

It’s a cruel irony that security concerns over criminal undocumented immigrants have been given as a rationale for a bill that disembowels the anti-terror apparatus in the world’s top terror target.