Admits Failures in Executive Order
From El Diario
July 10, 2003
By Fernando Aquino
Mayor Michael Bloomberg admitted yesterday that there could be things
that are unclear in Executive Order 34, and that he is ready to “revisit” it.
Speaking in an editorial meeting with El Diario, Bloomberg said that today,
he will meet with Queens City Councilmember Hiram Monserrate and reiterated
that he is ready to continue talking.
I believe that the majority of his fears – Monserrate’s – are
wrong,” said Bloomberg. “But there are some things that we
could probably change in order to clarify them.”
Bloomberg was emphatic in restating that what he does with the order
has to comply with federal law. “There is a federal law that now says:
you may not order your employees not to report. I am not going to violate
the law. Thank you. You go to jail, I am not going to go to jail,” said
Bloomberg. “This is the law and we have to comply,” he said.
According to the mayor, his Executive order specifies better than Ex-Mayor
Edward Koch’s order what one can do and when to do it, in terms
of reporting or not reporting the undocumented to Immigration Services.
I believe that the undocumented are better protected today that ever…If
you are arrested and you are illegal, we inform the INS of you. This is
what the law says, and this is what we will do,” explained the Mayor.
Bloomberg reiterated that he believes that the only solution to the problem
is to make “legal citizens” of everyone who is here and then
control the borders.
Executive Order 34 liberates the “reporting” restrictions
imposed on employees of the city by Executive Order 124, signed by Ex-Mayor
Koch in 1989, and reiterated by mayors David Dinkins and Rudolph Giuliani.
Green Light to Policies
In terms of the Police Department, the new order gave the green light
to the agents to interact with the undocumented, permitting them the “flexibility” to
question them about their status and, if esteemed convenient, report
them to the federal government.
Moreover, for other city agencies, the order establishes the policy of
not asking about status unless it is required by federal law, but it does
not impede them from doing so.
Bloomberg signed the order this past May 13th, and his functionaries implemented
it timidly in the following weeks, presenting it as a benefit to immigrants.
The great publicity given to the order by Councilmember Hiram Monserrate
and the groups that defend the rights of immigrants, who denounced the
order as detrimental for undocumented people.
Monserrate alleges that, for fear of being reported to the immigration
authorities, many undocumented people would not have access to city services.
No agency of the city of New York should be in the business of reporting
the undocumented. The police of the city of New York have to have restrictions
and in the current order there are none. They can question, detain, and
report. I believe that the order is too ample,” he said. “If
the federal government wants to come with their agents, let them do it,
but not the city of New York,” he continued.
Monserrate believes that the best solution, which he is proposing in
the City Council, is to approve the intro 38 or “Access without fear” that
would protect the confidentiality not only of the undocumented but also
of all the residents of the city. Tomorrow he will read both the results
of the meeting between the Mayor and the sectors that oppose Executive Order 34 and
the mayor’s justification for why the undocumented that are arrested
are questioned about their status even if they are innocent of the crimes.
Translated from Spanish by Charlotte Triggs.
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