Republican politicians across New York are demanding that the immigrants responsible for a violent attack on two NYPD cops in Times Square be deported. The incident, caught on camera, has sparked outrage and calls for action from Governor Kathy Hochul and other officials.
Hochul, while speaking to the press after announcing the nomination of Steven G. James as New York State Police Superintendent, expressed her concerns about the attack and stated that deportation is something that should be considered. The governor's statement has further ignited the debate on the city’s ‘sanctuary city’ status and the consequences of allowing undocumented individuals to remain in the country.
The incident that sparked the debate occurred on West 42nd Street, where an NYPD officer and lieutenant were filmed being attacked while attempting to subdue a group of migrants. The officers were punched and kicked as they tried to control the situation, which ultimately led to their injuries. Hochul, while condemning the attack, stated that those responsible for assaulting police officers, especially those who are not in the country legally, should be held accountable for their actions. She also urged judges and prosecutors to do the right thing in handling the case.
The issue has also brought attention to the debate around the city’s ‘sanctuary city’ status, which prohibits cooperation between the NYPD and federal immigration enforcement. According to US Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, who represents Staten Island, this law must be repealed.
She stated that anyone who commits a crime while in the city has forfeited the opportunity to become a citizen. Staten Island Borough President Vito Fossella echoed her sentiment, stating that the violent attack is the “fruit of the poisonous tree,” and warned about the consequences of allowing illegal immigration.
However, others argue that New York City's ‘sanctuary city’ status does not protect criminals from prosecution. Defense attorney Michael Bachner, a former Manhattan prosecutor, stated that crimes such as homicide, rape, and robbery are not exempt from deportation orders. He further explained that those charged with assaulting police officers would likely face immigration court proceedings and possible deportation after completing their sentence. While the accused offenders were released without bail, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office has stated that it is still investigating the case and reviewing new video footage.
The response from the city and its officials also sparked criticism from both sides of the political spectrum. Republican critics, such as US Rep. Malliotakis, believe that the handling of the case is unacceptable, while Democrats, like Governor Hochul and Mayor Eric Adams, expressed their condemnation and called for the perpetrators to be prosecuted.
According to Hochul's spokesperson, her office has been in communication with Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg's office about the attack. She also stated that as per existing state law, assault on a police officer is a bail-eligible crime and should be treated accordingly.
While some believe that the lenient bail reform measures passed by the Democrats are to blame for the accused being released without bail, others believe that the laws have been effective overall. Mayor Adams also condemned the attack, stating that “violence of any kind, and no less against our officers, is unacceptable and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.” Hochul, while praising the work of the NYPD, has also urged for the accused to be held accountable and for prosecutors and judges to do what is right.
The incident has once again brought the debate around immigration and law enforcement to the forefront. While the state and federal governments continue to work towards finding a solution to the issue, it is clear that those who commit crimes, especially against law enforcement officials, will not escape deportation and should be held accountable for their actions. With the city’s ‘sanctuary city’ status still under scrutiny, it remains to be seen what changes will be made to address the concerns of both sides.