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Brooklyn DA aims to protect immigrants from deportation over minor crimes

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez announced a

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez announced a new policy Monday, April 24, 2017, to help protect immigrants from being deported for minor crimes. Photo Credit: Jeff Bachner

Prosecutors in Brooklyn will be advised to make plea offers and sentencing recommendations aimed to protect immigrants from being deported for nonviolent crimes, under a new policy announced by the Brooklyn district attorney’s office Monday.

The policy aims at minimizing the “collateral immigration consequences of criminal convictions,” such as deportation, the district attorney’s office said.

The move comes just days after the U.S. Justice Department once again threatened to cut funding from sanctuary cities, like New York City, that don’t abide by its immigration rules, accusing the city of being “soft on crime.”

Both Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill fired back at that accusation, calling it “outrageous.”

Assistant district attorneys will be advised to offer a sentence that does not jeopardize public safety or lead to deportation or other “disproportionate” consequences, the district attorney’s policy says.

The office has hired two immigration attorneys who will train staff and consult the ADAs.

“I am committed to equal and fair justice for all Brooklyn residents -- citizens, lawful residents and undocumented immigrants alike,” acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said. “Now more than ever, we must ensure that a conviction, especially for a minor offense, does not lead to unintended and severe consequences like deportation, which can be unfair, tear families apart and destabilize our communities and businesses.”

Gonzalez added that this policy is not meant to “frustrate the federal government’s function of protecting our country,” but to “enhance public safety and fairness in the criminal justice system.”

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