Archive for September, 2011

Proposed NY Bill Would Limit Detaining, Increase Efficiency

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

A bill recently introduced in the New York City Council would limit the amount of time a foreign-born person can be detained for immigration purposes after the date of release by New York’s Department of Corrections (DOC). The bill, Intro 656, is supported by a majority of Council members including Speaker Christine Quinn, Daniel Dromm, Melissa Mark-Viverito and 32 other Council members, rendering it veto-proof.

New York City Hall

Intro 656 would prohibit the DOC from using city funds to extend the standard time to hold a non-criminal detainee so that the individual could be picked up by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), provided that: the individual has never been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony; is not a defendant in a pending criminal case; has no other warrants; has not previously been ordered deported; and is not on a terrorist watch list.

Council research has shown that more than 50 percent of the inmates in DOC custody had no prior convictions and, more importantly, that the close ties between DOC and ICE are eroding the trust between immigrants and local law enforcement. This type of mistrust makes immigrant crime victims much less willing to come forward, especially in cases of domestic violence. The bill states that for all of these reasons, the Council finds that cooperation between DOC and ICE cannot be supported by the Council and should not be supported by local tax-payer dollars.

“I am happy that Speaker Quinn is taking action on this important issue — saving the City up to $50 million a year while also protecting immigrants with no prior criminal record from unfair, lengthy detention periods,” said Assemblyman Francisco Moya. “This proposal is tough on crime too, making sure that cooperation does take place in other cases […] this proposal also allows for the necessary cooperation between law enforcement agencies.”

Reflection, Response, and Service: Msgr. Kevin Sullivan on the 10th Anniversary of 9/11

Monday, September 12th, 2011

By Monsignor Kevin Sullivan

This past weekend we remembered.  We experienced sadness, loss, tragedy and heroism.  The memory of loss and tragedy centered on the lives lost in a moment at the World Trade Center itself, at the Pentagon, and in Pennsylvania – and their loved ones.  The memories of heroism focused on those who responded immediately to try to rescue those in the World Trade Center buildings.  It was good to do so. It was good to remember that in the midst of tragedy and loss, there was greatness and heroism.

As the weekend passes and we move forward let us remember those who responded for years – and continue to respond to the tragedy of 9/11 – human service and healthcare workers.  Hundreds of thousands were impacted, not for a day or months, but for years, and some of this impact continues to this day.  Jobs were lost.  Lives were torn apart and traumatized.  Health was compromised.

Away from Ground Zero, in the neighborhoods of New York City and the towns and counties of the New York metropolitan area, thousands worked to make sure that basic needs were met and that the healing of body, emotions and spirit began and steadily took place.  There were many generous volunteers who gave their time and talent.  There were many generous donors who gave their treasure so that resources were available to help our neighbors in need.  And at the heart of this long-term response to the human and healthcare needs of those impacted by 9/11, were the dedicated human service and healthcare workers who, day in and day out, were present to hurting individuals and families.  Let us remember them with gratitude and whisper a prayer that they may persevere each day for those whose tragedies are as real but not as noted.

I know well the workers of Catholic Charities and the other human service networks of the greater New York metropolitan area.  Thank you for what you did.  Thank you for what you do.  Thank you for what you will do, with compassion and professionalism, to enable those in need to live in dignity.