New York City Commissioner James O’Neill is reassuring New Yorkers that the NYPD is focused on fighting crime and violence, and not an individual’s immigration status. O’Neill, who has been commissioner since September 2016, is responding to concerns that President-elect Donald Trump’s tough stance on immigration law would discourage undocumented immigrants from cooperating with the police.
It’s no secret that Trump has made immigration a centerpiece of his campaign, promising mass deportation, banning of Muslim immigrants, and the construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, O’Neill said that he would not enforce the law based on a person’s immigration status, but rather on the crimes committed. Moreover, the commissioner added that the NYPD would not return to the use of stop-and-frisks, an enforcement measure praised by Trump, despite the fact that a federal court found it being used unconstitutionally to target minorities, especially Hispanics and African Americans.
While on the campaign trail, Mr. Trump said that the stop-and-frisk tactics implemented under former New York City mayors Rudolph Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg needs to be enforced across the entire United States and expanded, giving more support and leeway to government and law enforcement officials.
But Mr. O’Neill reiterated the importance of enforcing the law the right way, emphasizing the need to continue enforcing the law as it should be done under the constitution. He adds, “There’s different levels of suspicion, but it has to be done based on reasonable suspicion.”
Commissioner O’Neill, who has been New York’s top police official since September, has had a full plate in the last 3 months since being appointed to the job. He has had to deal with a terrorist attack, the worst since 9/11; the death of Deborah Danner, who was shot by a police sergeant in her Bronx apartment after acting erratically and brandishing a pair of scissors and a baseball bat; and a strained relationship with Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has been accused of putting the interests of anti-police protesters before those of the police.
For more news and updates on immigration law in the United States, be sure to stay tuned to this blog. If you or a loved one needs an immigration lawyer, schedule a consultation with the legal team of the Lyttle Law Firm. Call our offices today at (512) 215.5225 to learn how our services can help you.