New York City Files Amicus Brief On Behalf Of 21 Jurisdictions Supporting Local Right To Protect Sensitive Information Of Immigrant Communities

May 18, 2018

NEW YORK—The de Blasio Administration today announced that New York City, together with a coalition of 20 other cities and counties across the nation and the United States Conference of Mayors, has submitted an amicus brief to help defeat a Trump Administration lawsuit seeking to invalidate three California state laws. Among other things, the Trump Administration is suing for greater access to sensitive information that states and local governments collect from immigrant members of the community in the course of delivering services to all residents. Amici filed their brief in United States v. California to support California’s effort to limit the information it turns over, arguing that disclosing the information would erode the trust it has built with residents—including in vulnerable immigrant communities—that is necessary to effectively protect the safety and health of all residents.

“In New York City, we have shown how welcoming immigrants has helped make this the safest big city in the country,” said NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We are all better off when we have policies in place that ensure residents are willing to report crime and assist the police, complain about unsafe conditions, send their children to school, and seek medical treatment. In New York, we will vigorously defend against any effort to undermine our local laws to protect the confidential information of our resident immigrants.”  

“While this lawsuit specifically targets the state of California, it is in reality an attack on all state and local governments across the country that have adopted policies that encourage immigrant residents to share confidential information essential to effective law enforcement and necessary to access important social services. These policies have proven effective in keeping our states and cities safe and enhancing the quality of life of our communities,” said Zachary W. Carter, Corporation Counsel of the City of New York.

“Chicago is a city of immigrants in the heartland of a nation of immigrants, and we are proud to stand up for our values and join the legal fight to defend our residents’ rights,” said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “Chicago will always be a welcoming city as we have been throughout our history. The anti-immigrant policies and rhetoric coming out of the Trump administration fly in the face of our most fundamental American principles.”

“The City of Philadelphia continues to join with local governments across the country in defending policies that promote public safety as well as build trust and cooperation with our immigrant communities,” said Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney. “Cities have an overriding interest in these policies.  Policies like these, in combination with smart, community policing, have resulted in our city having the lowest level of crime in 40 years. By working to bring our immigrant communities out from the shadows, we continue to ensure a safer Philadelphia for all residents.”

“We will not allow our cities or states to be bullied by this administration, who continue to threaten our shared values of inclusion, opportunity, and diversity. The Department of Justice’s actions do nothing to make our communities safer,” said Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan. “Seattle and all the welcoming cities in the United States have both the law and justice on our side. We will keep working together to ensure that immigrants and refugees who believe in the promise of America are protected from these misguided, harmful actions.”

“The City of Seattle is proud to support California in the name of local autonomy and community safety. Neighborhoods are safer when everyone who experiences or witnesses a crime feels comfortable engaging with law enforcement, which is why it’s incumbent on local governments to maintain partnership and trust. The Trump administration’s outright hostility toward immigrant communities sets us all backward, so it’s up to cities and states to tread the path forward,” said Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes.

“In Madison, we don’t believe in discrimination of any kind,” said Madison Mayor Paul Soglin.

“The City of Burlington is proud to join other cities across the country in affirming its right to provide municipal services to residents in a manner that benefits public safety and maintains our city as a welcoming and inclusive place for people of all backgrounds. Like many cities, we stand in compliance with federal law, and we refuse to allow our police officers to become deputized to enforce federal civil immigration policy,” said Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger.

“Tukwila is a community where more than 40% of our neighbors were born outside of the United States and 80 languages are spoken in our high school. We have a vested interest in keeping all members of our community safe,” said Tukwila Mayor Allan Ekberg.  “As city leaders, our job – and our commitment – is to equitably serve every resident, regardless of immigration status. We are pleased to join other local governments in protecting our ability to do just that.”

“The U.S. Conference of Mayors will continue to stand in opposition to this Justice Department’s attacks on state and local governments and their elected leaders for their efforts to build inclusive communities which welcome immigrants. The California Values Act reflects what many cities are already doing: working to build trust with immigrant communities and uphold the Constitution. We are honored to stand with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and mayors across the country who value the contributions made by all of their residents, are committed to protecting all residents, and oppose the misguided and dangerous immigration policies pursued by this Administration,” said the U.S. Conference of Mayors CEO and Executive Director Tom Cochran.

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