MIDTOWN — Mayor Bill de Blasio may be willing to consider expanding the list of crimes for which the city turns immigrants over to federal authorities, but City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito isn't.
“I think this council is extremely proud of the work that we have done to stop needless deportations," she said at a City Hall press conference Wednesday.
"We’re not going to succumb to any fear-mongering that continues to go out there. I think we have worked deliberately to strike a balance."
De Blasio, during a confrontation with Republican Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis during a budget hearing in Albany on Monday, said he'd be willing to expand the list of 170 felonies for which the city will turn people over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Under the law passed by the City Council and signed by the mayor in 2014, in order for the Department of Correction or the NYPD to comply with a federal detainment request, there has to be a probable cause warrant, the individual must be convicted of a serious or violent felony in the last five years or they must be on the terrorist watch list.
The mayor has argued that the list of 170 serious and violent felonies makes President Donald Trump's executive order calling for funding to be removed from so-called "sanctuary cities" that do not fully cooperate with immigration authorities moot.
"If there are some offenses that we should add, we are willing to do that always," de Blasio told Malliotakis after she accused the mayor of putting the safety of city residents at risk.
But Mark-Viverito rejected that idea.
"We had people that were undocumented guests or maybe were foreign born that had committed truly low-level non violent offenses," she said.
"That information from our corrections officers at Rikers was being shared with ICE agents and ... the deportation proceedings would begin."
The process tore people from relatives they were supporting who were citizens or legal residents, she said.
The law "struck the balance of unnecessarily ensnaring people that are here... contributing positively and contributing to the economy of our city."
De Blasio has said that New York City will remain a sanctuary city even at the risk of losing federal funding. The mayor believes that the city could not lose all $8.8 billion of federal funding that it received last year and that only a percentage of up to $160 million in NYPD federal anti-terrorism money is at risk due to previous Supreme Court rulings.
The mayor has said he will file a lawsuit if the Trump Administration tries to eliminate federal funding.
"I think I was pretty clear the other day about — in Albany — that we’re going to have a discussion about whether areas needed to be added. I think those will be very limited, but I am certainly happy to do it," de Blasio said Tuesday.
But Mark-Viverito, who has influence over which legislation goes before the council, said there will be no changes.
"We're doing things to try to limit people's unnecessary interaction with the criminal justice system to not upend lives but to also protect our city," said Mark-Viverito.
"I’m comfortable with where we’re at."