Skip to content
CityLab
Justice

Lessons from New York’s Immigration Raids

Despite New York’s policies to protect immigrants, new analyses of federal immigration enforcement show how and why it is in many ways becoming more aggressive.
A map of ICE raid clusters in the New York City area, as documented by the Immigrant Defense Project.
A map of ICE raid clusters in the New York City area, as documented by the Immigrant Defense Project. Immigrant Defense Project

Some U.S. cities have been using two strategies to blunt the force of the federal government’s crackdown on undocumented immigrants. The first: instituting policies (loosely called “sanctuary policies”) that limit cooperation of local jails and police departments with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)—thus cutting off a primary pipeline to deportations. The second is providing legal aid for immigrants in deportation proceedings. In New York, one such program has led to a 1,100 percent increase in immigration cases that have a favorable outcome for the immigrant.

Of course, even with these policies, immigrants in diverse cities like New York are not safe from federal enforcement. And two new reports seek to shed light on how the federal government’s self-professed unshackling of ICE has been playing out despite local protective policies.