NEW YORK CITY — President Donald Trump wants to create a weekly list of crimes allegedly committed by immigrants and the sanctuary cities, like New York, that don't comply with federal orders to detain them.
The plan is part of an executive order he signed that promised to strip sanctuary cities, which do not assist federal authorities on some deportation actions, of federal funding.
The goal is to "better inform the public regarding the public safety threats associated with sanctuary" cities, according to the order.
“We are going to get the bad ones out," Trump said Wednesday during a visit to the Department of Homeland Security, where he acknowledged several families who were victims of crime by undocumented immigrants "The criminals and the drug dealers and gangs and gang members. The day is over when they can stay in our country and wreak havoc. We are going to get them out, and we are going to get them out fast."
But Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill questioned the premise of the executive order because New York City already has at least 170 felony criminal offenses for which it will cooperate with federal authorities to deport the perpetrator.
"We already remove the worst criminals from New York," O'Neill said Wednesday at a City Hall press conference.
In November 2014, the mayor signed a law that removed Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials from Rikers Island and all other city facilities and limited the information the city shared with ICE about people in Department of Correction custody.
The law also ended all cooperation with federal detain requests by the Dept. of Correction and the NYPD unless there was a probable cause warrant, the individual was convicted of a serious or violent felony in the last five years, or was a possible match on the terrorist watch list.
Before the law, ICE officials at city jails or Rikers Island would check the immigration status of everyone there regardless of the crime they were accused of and transfer those who were believed to be in violation of immigration law to federal custody.
Now, the offenses that authorities will cooperate with ICE on range from making a terroristic threats to unlawfully fleeing police in a car and criminal sale of a firearm.
"When you look at this list you will not doubt for a moment this covers everything conceivable in terms of serious and violent crime," said de Blasio.
The mayor said he showed the list to both Trump and Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions at Trump Tower in November.
"Here is the example of a middle ground that works," de Blasio said he told Trump and Sessions. "If someone commits these crimes they are undoubtedly going to be deported and we will work with the federal authorities on that."
The laws guard against deporting individuals for minor crimes that breaks up families, said de Blasio. Many undocumented immigrants have family members who are here legally or are U.S. citizens.
Angela Fernandez, executive director of the Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights, said listing the names of immigrants accused of crimes is a "dangerous" proposition.
"Their lives will be destroyed and they could become the victims of vigilante justice," Fernandez said. "They will not want to cooperate with the police on anything and some won't call the fire department or the hospital because they think it's all linked."
The executive order does not specify whether undocumented immigrants would be the only people who had their alleged crime listed in the weekly report. The order only specifies "aliens."
FULL TEXT of Executive Order on Sanctuary Cities. pic.twitter.com/bdrHuUPx98— Christina Wilkie (@christinawilkie) January 25, 2017
Undocumented immigrants, and even documented immigrants with green cards, asylum or legal residency already face deportation based on minor offenses such as fare beating, trespassing or being found with minor amounts of drugs.
A 2015 report from the American Immigration Council found that immigrants, both documented and undocumented, are less likely than native born Americans to commit serious crimes and be in prison.
The study found that 1.6 percent of immigrant males age 18-39 are incarcerated versus 3.3 percent of the native-born. As the foreign born share of the U.S. population increased to 13 percent from 8 percent from 1990 to 2013, the violent crime rate dropped 48 percent.
"There has been an attempt to demonize immigrants across the board," de Blasio said. "That's what's happening here. The vast majority even of the undocumented are law abiding people and that's not pointed out in this discussion."