Mayor Mitch Landrieu reiterated today (Tuesday, March 21) in a prepared statement that the city’s law enforcement officers won’t be joining Donald Trump’s “deportation force.”
“First and foremost, the NOPD does now and will continue to follow federal laws and focus on arresting people who commit crime, regardless of their immigration status,” Landrieu’s statement read.
It continued, “We are focused on fighting crime, and we will not move officers off the street to join President Trump’s deportation force.”
The statement was released today as the Mayor’s response to the Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) report naming the New Orleans as one of several jurisdictions across the nation with “policies of non-cooperation”. The report also lists New Orleans as one of the jurisdictions that has “enacted policies which limit cooperation with ICE.”
While the report states that New Orleans is among jurisdictions that do not comply with orders to detain undocumented immigrants “on a routine basis”, the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office only appears in the report once for declining a detainer order issued on Jan. 31, 2017, for a Mexican citizen arrested on a battery conviction.
The report lists of jurisdictions where requests to detain illegal immigrants in custody were declined between Jan. 28 and Feb. 3, 2017. ICE detainers request local law enforcement to maintain custody of people living in the country illegally. According to the report, as of February 2016, the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) “will not honor detainers without a judicial order or criminal warrant.”
And Mayor Landrieu is holding to the position he took he made earlier this year after Trump signed the first executive order that banned refugees and residents of several Middle Eastern countries from traveling to the United States, saying then that New Orleans would remain “a welcoming city.”
In his Tuesday statement, the Mayor said, “The NOPD’s policy on immigration complies with federal law and makes New Orleans safer because individuals are more likely to report crime, and victims and witnesses can testify without fear of being questioned about their immigration status. That’s why the NOPD will continue to focus on arresting those who commit violent crimes, not enforcing civil immigration laws. The Department of Justice, the federal consent decree monitor and the Federal judge overseeing the consent decree have approved our immigration policy, and it has served us well. Going back to September of 2015, officials at ICE were consulted in the drafting of NOPD’s immigration policy. This agency, which is responsible for enforcing federal immigration laws, never expressed any concern with the NOPD’s policy.”
Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman is also standing by the jail’s policy as it relates to ICE and detainers.
“I am proud to continue to stand behind our jail policies that make New Orleans a safer city while also keeping families together and using precious resources wisely,” Gusman said in a statement released Tuesday afternoon. “The Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office continues to stand firmly behind our ICE policy. Under the policy, the Sheriff’s Office shall decline all voluntary ICE detainer requests unless the individual is charged with one or more specific crimes of violence. I firmly believe that these policies and practices promote what is best for our city and comply with federal law. Our ICE policy is about freedom and fairness, ideals upon which I hope we can all agree and upon which our country was built. If we are to continue to be judged by these ideals, I believe our current ICE policy places us on the right side of this issue and keeps us on the path to a stronger future.”