Immigrants in danger, Bill de Blasio balancing competing demands, Republicans balancing ideological purity while in danger of losing the State Senate, and more.
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Will New York Be a Sanctuary for Immigrants?
What does “sanctuary” mean?
Sanctuary cities refuse to use police in immigration raids, won’t allow federal immigration authorities to access school and other records to find undocumented immigrants, and won’t hold immigrants in jail for ICE to pick them up. However, if someone is already in prison, they will generally turn them over to ICE. They also generally won’t ask immigrants if they are documented.
BUT New York City might not be so safe for immigrants. The Daily News reports that the NYPD still tells ICE when undocumented people have court dates. Is New York City trying to have it both ways?
From Across New York
Mayor Bill de Blasio is in a tricky spot as he runs for re-election. The mother of Ramarley Graham, the teen killed by police officers in front of his family in 2012, accused the Mayor of being disrespectful in a Daily News op-ed and critiqued him for not doing enough to reform the NYPD. Meanwhile, the police officers’ union is hitting de Blasio and his administration from the other side for not protecting officers. He’s appealing to his base in order to win a second term.
At the same time, the sensitive topic of metzitzah b’peh, part of the circumcision process for some Orthodox Jews, has emerged as a flashpoint. Mayor de Blasio is trapped with no good options as he tries to both protect babies and keep supporters happy.
Republicans control the State Senate but it’s tenuous. Even though there are 32 Democratic State Senators and 31 Republicans, Republicans hold power thanks to nine Democrats, mostly in the Independent Democratic Conference, who support them. Republican Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (R-Long Island), a moderate in the Republican camp, has been able to work with Governor Andrew Cuomo and the nine Democrats who back the Republicans.
The Albany Times Union teamed up with the Investigative Post, and other outlets to dig into the “State of Subsidies”: how New York spends billions on subsidies for businesses with very little return.
This weekend, they also revealed how state legislators spend millions of taxpayer dollars on advertising that’s barely distinguishable from their re-election campaigns. Theoretically, they aren’t supposed to use this money for campaigning but as one source noted, “It’s all done with a wink and a nod.”
Just two weeks after the MTA raised fares, the New York City Council is admonishing them for not fixing escalators and elevators quickly enough. Those escalators and elevators are incredibly important for wheelchair-users and parents with strollers. New York City’s subway is one of the oldest and largest subway systems in the world and many of the escalators and elevators are showing their age.
• As we mentioned last week, there’s quite a bit of uncertainty around how Trump will affect New York State’s spending. Well rather than pass a budget before the April 1 deadline, Cuomo and the state legislature agreed to so-called extenders, continuing government funding and pushing the deadline for a new budget back until the end of May. One real consequence? Lawmakers won’t get a paycheck until they pass the budget.
• Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown is facing a tough re-election campaign. As in many urban elections, development is controversial and the location of a new Buffalo train station is emerging as a flashpoint.
• Three lawyers dominate Queens politics. They’ve managed to amass power and money without ever being elected, thanks to their connections to Rep. Joe Crowley, the County Democratic Leader, and his predecessor as both County Leader and Congressman, Tom Manton. Read the article by ShakingNews friend Ross Barkan in The Daily News.
• There are no reporters assigned to cover the 200,000 cases that happen at the Queens County courthouse. The Daily Beast covers the decline of the local press and why “it’s going to be a field day for local corruption.” That’s why we’re working on ShakingNews, so that someone is paying attention to state and local government and alerting the public about what to watch.
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