NYC Common Sense Caucus proposes legislation to end sanctuary city status amid migrant crisis

Migrants entering NYC peer through a bus window at Port Authority in October 2022.
Photo by Dean Moses

The Common Sense Caucus, a group of city council members focused on safety and essential services, has introduced the legislation Intro 945, aimed at repealing the statutes that designate New York City as a sanctuary city.

The push from the city council group to revoke sanctuary policies comes at the heels of the migrant crisis and a growing concern over the constraint of local law enforcement and federal immigration authorities, the group made clear in a release last week.

Specifically, the proposed legislation aims to repeal certain sections of New York City’s administrative code that pertain to non-detainment and immigration enforcement policies.

Council Member Robert Holden, who represents D-30, which includes Glendale, Maspeth, Middle Village and parts of Ridgewood, says he has had enough of criminal activity stemming from migrants coming into the city. 

“We have enough criminals in this city; we don’t need to import more and protect them as well,” said Holden, who serves as co-chair of the caucus. “Repealing the laws that have created a sanctuary city status is common sense. Those who are wanted for heinous crimes back home or commit crimes in our country should be deported without hesitation. We aim to end this reckless social experiment once and for all.”

Members of the Common Sense Caucus collectively claim the repeal of sanctuary status will enhance law enforcement’s ability to ensure the safety and security of all New Yorkers. 

“New York City has always been a safe haven for immigrants seeking better lives, and there have long been policies in place to protect those who follow the rule of law and want to contribute to our great city,” said Minority Leader and co-chair of the caucus Joe Borelli. “But the so-called ‘Sanctuary City’ laws that have been enacted over the past few decades under the single-party rule are a cynical distortion of those policies and have only served to protect dangerous criminals who simply do not belong in our country – and all New Yorkers are paying the price.”

A majority of Republican legislators from all parts of the city have joined this effort, including Council Member Joann Ariola, who represents Southern and Central Queens neighborhoods such as Howard Beach and Ozone Park

“New York City’s politically motivated decision to end cooperation with ICE has been a disaster since the moment it was put into place,” said Ariola. “This decision was made by an administration that was more interested in virtue signaling than it was in protecting the rights and wellbeing of the people of New York. By passing this bill, we are restoring a lost level of public safety and ensuring that violent offenders who are in this country illegally can be properly dealt with and handed over to the right authorities.”

However, supporters of sanctuary status argue that sanctuary city status creates a safer environment for everyone, especially immigrants who live in fear of deportation when reporting abuse or other crimes. 

According to the New York Immigration Coalition, an advocacy group representing immigrants and refugees across New York, the city’s sanctuary policies protect vulnerable communities and provide local law enforcement with the ability to honor detainer requests, including when the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) provides a judicial warrant. 

The Common Sense Caucus is comprised of City Council Members Robert Holden (D-Queens), Joe Borelli (R-Staten Island), Inna Vernikov (R-Brooklyn), David Carr (R-Staten Island), Kalman Yeger (D-Brooklyn), Joann Ariola (R-Queens), Vickie Paladino (R-Queens) and Kristy Marmorato (R-Bronx).