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US Shooting of Man in the Face by ICE Turns Into a Trump-New York Fight

18:31  11 february  2020
18:31  11 february  2020 Source:   nytimes.com

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ICE said the shooting could have been avoided entirely if New York assisted the agency rather than limiting when law enforcement authorities will turn over undocumented A city report issued in January showed that ICE arrests of people in the New York City area had risen under Mr. Trump , and arrests

New York City police officers work at the scene of a shooting , Sunday, Feb. One officer was shot in the neck and chin Saturday night when the gunman fired several rounds into a marked police van The suspect’s grandmother told the New York Post he was upset following the death of his son, who

Gaspar Avendaño Hernández left his home in Brooklyn early last Thursday to go to his construction job.

a group of people on a stage: Carmen Cruz, whose son was shot during an ICE enforcement action, at a rally at the hospital where he was taken.© Stephen Speranza for The New York Times Carmen Cruz, whose son was shot during an ICE enforcement action, at a rally at the hospital where he was taken.

But Mr. Avendaño, an undocumented Mexican immigrant who had previously been deported in 2011 after pleading guilty to an assault charge only to return, did not get far. He was confronted outside his house by federal immigration officers who were there to arrest him.

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What happened next illustrates the finger-pointing between the Trump administration and officials in New York and other liberal jurisdictions over their so-called sanctuary policies shielding undocumented immigrants from federal enforcement efforts.

An altercation broke out in front of Mr. Avendaño’s home, according to witnesses and officials. As the officers, from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, tried to detain him, Mr. Avendaño was shot with a stun gun. One officer then fired a gun at a second man, the son of Mr. Avendaño’s longtime girlfriend, with the bullet piercing the young man’s cheek.

As word of the episode spread, anti-ICE protesters gathered at the hospital where the two men, and two officers who were hurt in the altercation, had been taken. City officials rushed to intervene, eventually asking Mexican diplomats to help the men contact their families, while Democratic members of Congress demanded answers from ICE about the shooting.

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A protest against ICE in front of Trump International Hotel on Feb. 15 in New York City. As a sanctuary city, New York only requires officials to turn over individuals convicted of violent and serious offences, so NYPD released Avendano-Hernandez.

Two New York police officers stationed in the Bronx were shot and injured overnight in separate incidents that officials are calling targeted The first shooting took place at 8:30 p.m. Saturday, when a man shot into a marked police van in the 41st precinct, striking an officer in the chin and neck with

a group of people in military uniforms: The episode began when ICE officers arrived at the home of Gaspar Avendaño Hernandez at about 7 a.m. last Thursday.© Lloyd Mitchell/Reuters The episode began when ICE officers arrived at the home of Gaspar Avendaño Hernandez at about 7 a.m. last Thursday.

ICE said the shooting could have been avoided entirely if New York assisted the agency rather than limiting when law enforcement authorities will turn over undocumented immigrants.

Mr. Trump has long criticized cities, like New York, that have sanctuary policies, accusing them of protecting criminals. Officials in those jurisdictions have gone to court to block the administration’s efforts to revoke federal funding as punishment.

With the presidential campaign gearing up and Mr. Trump making immigration a focus of his re-election bid, the administration has made an example of New York and appears to be expanding its push against what it considers misguided sanctuary policies. On Monday, the Justice Department sued California, New Jersey and King County, Wash., for obstructing federal immigration enforcement efforts.

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President Trump spoke out, too, taking to Twitter on Sunday to accuse Governor Cuomo and Mr. de Blasio of “weak leadership” and being soft on The mayor has denied the perception that New York is losing ground in its hard- fought struggle to reduce crime. An ICE Officer Shot a Man in the Face .

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New York officials argue that such policies are vital to maintaining the trust of the city’s three million immigrants, including more than one million New Yorkers who are undocumented or live in a mixed status household.

Last month at a news conference in the city, Matthew T. Albence, ICE’s acting director, blamed New York’s sanctuary policies for the rape and murder of a 92-year-old woman in Queens. Mr. Albence said that the undocumented immigrant charged in the case should have been turned over to ICE months before, after he was charged with attacking his father.

a car parked on the side of a building: The home in the Gravesend section of Brooklyn that Mr. Avendaño shares with his longtime girlfriend.© Stephen Speranza for The New York Times The home in the Gravesend section of Brooklyn that Mr. Avendaño shares with his longtime girlfriend.

New York, Mr. Albence said, had put public safety at risk by refusing to honor the agency’s so-called detainer in the case. ICE uses detainers to ask local law enforcement to hold undocumented immigrants until the agency can pick them up.

Soon after, ICE announced dozens of arrests around New York of undocumented immigrants, more than half of whom it said had been released despite detainers. “Local jurisdictions that choose to not cooperate with ICE are likely to see an increase in ICE enforcement activity,” the agency said in a statement. ICE has since issued similar statements about arrests in other sanctuary jurisdictions, including Chicago and Philadelphia.

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Highlighting the issue last Tuesday during his State of the Union address, Mr. Trump cited the killing in Queens as an example of how local officials were ordering the police “to release dangerous criminal aliens to prey upon the public.”

The next day, federal authorities announced that New York residents would be barred from travel programs like Global Entry because of a new law that allows undocumented immigrants in the state to obtain driver’s licenses while blocking the Department of Homeland Security from gaining access to state motor vehicle data. (On Monday, New York’s attorney general sued the federal government over the move.)

a group of people walking down the street in front of a crowd: Protesters returned to the hospital for a rally a day after the shooting.© Stephen Speranza for The New York Times Protesters returned to the hospital for a rally a day after the shooting.

Then came Mr. Avendaño’s encounter with ICE on Thursday, which began with a knock on the door around 7 a.m., according to Fabiola Mendieta-Cuapio, a community organizer acting as a family spokeswoman.

The men who appeared at Mr. Avendaño’s home, in the Gravesend section, said they were looking for the owner of a car parked nearby, Ms. Mendieta-Cuapio said, noting that the men were dressed in plain clothes and did not initially identify themselves as ICE officers.

Mr. Avendaño, 33, had been arrested earlier in the week after being stopped for failing to signal a turn, driving without a license and improper license plates, according to court records.

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New York is one of a group of cities that limits cooperation with federal immigration authorities, but ICE issued 1,526 detainer requests to the New York Police Department in the 2017 fiscal year, up from 80 The City Council secured private funding to keep representing clients who fell into this category.

The Trump administration barred all New York state resident from qualifying for trusted traveler programs, including Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, and FAST. In 2019 the new law came into effect allowing New Yorkers to apply for driver's licenses without having to prove they are in the US legally.

Suspecting that the men were there because of that arrest, Mr. Avendaño told them to talk to his neighbors and closed the door, Ms. Mendieta-Cuapio said.

He decided to take a taxi to work, but before it could pull away, ICE officers stopped it. As Mr. Avendaño got out, the men — by now identifying themselves as federal officers, Ms. Mendieta-Cuapio said — tried to detain him, using a stun gun.

Mr. Avendaño’s girlfriend’s son, Erick Díaz Cruz, 26, came out of the house and rushed over.

Mr. Díaz, a resident of Veracruz, Mexico, had traveled with his wife to visit his mother on a tourist visa, according to the Mexican consulate. After he raised his hands, Ms. Mendieta-Cuapio said, an officer fired his gun.

The bullet traveled through Mr. Díaz’s left hand before hitting him in the face, piercing his cheekbone and lodging next to his ear, Ms. Mendieta-Cuapio said.

ICE said in a statement that the shot had been fired after its officers were “physically attacked.” Two officers, including the one who fired his weapon, were treated for minor injuries, according to ICE, which also said its Office of Professional Responsibility was investigating the shooting. On Monday, one of the officers remained in the hospital in stable condition, a spokeswoman said.

Mr. Avendaño, a carpenter originally from Tlaxcala, Mexico, was deported in 2011, ICE said. He had been arrested on charges of assaulting his partner at the time, Ms. Mendieta-Cuapio said.

The assault case resulted in a misdemeanor conviction, said his current lawyer, Jackie Pearce, of Make the Road New York, an immigrant advocacy organization. Then, a month after being deported, he crossed back into the United States and was returned again, ICE said.

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A Mexican immigrant was shot in the face and hand by an ICE agent as they tried to arrest his A second Mexican immigrant, apparently was taken into custody by police after he allegedly fought with the It was not known if he would be turned over to ICE . @ICEgov says agents were looking for “a

The city of New York has been at odds with ICE over its sanctuary city policies—policies that acting ICE Director Matthew Albence “Why is ICE shooting at anyone in the city?” immigration activist Ravi Rabir of the More from The Root. Watch: Nancy Pelosi Dry Snitches on Trump ’s Alleged Drug Use.

After the shooting, Rachael Yong Yow, an ICE spokeswoman, blamed the city for releasing Mr. Avendaño after he was arrested last week, before the agency had time to issue a detainer.

“This forced ICE officers to locate him on the streets of New York rather than in the safe confines of a jail,” she said.

Mayor Bill de Blasio responded by accusing ICE of flouting the law.

“ICE has become, I think, a more and more illegitimate force,” Mr. de Blasio said on NY1. “It’s a highly politicized agency. It’s basically a wing of the Donald Trump campaign at this point.”

Mexican consular officials; a Brooklyn council member, Carlos Menchaca; and Bitta Mostofi, the city’s immigrant affairs commissioner, intervened on Thursday to help the men get lawyers.

Protesters were still outside the hospital, Maimonides Medical Center, the next day, when Mr. Avendaño was picked up by ICE and taken to a New Jersey detention center.

An ICE spokeswoman, Danielle Bennett, called such shootings “exceedingly rare,” citing data that showed agency employees had discharged firearms around 10 times a year on average in the past four years.

In 2019, when ICE made more than 37,000 criminal arrests and 143,000 administrative arrests, there were eight shootings, the data showed. So far this year, four shootings had occurred as of Friday, Ms. Bennett said.

A city report issued in January showed that ICE arrests of people in the New York City area had risen under Mr. Trump, and arrests of people without criminal convictions had increased 292 percent from 2016 to 2019.

“We have seen a spike over the last few years,” Ms. Mostofi said, “but what’s happened in the last weeks is concerning.”

Asked about an increase in enforcement, Ms. Yong Yow, the ICE spokeswoman, said that the agency continued “to focus the majority of its resources to criminal aliens and those who have longstanding final orders of removal.”

.

On Monday, Mr. Avendaño was being held at an ICE detention center in Kearny, N.J., where he had been placed in isolation, Ms. Pearce, said. He planned to seek approval to stay in the country because he fears for his safety if he returns to Mexico, she said.

Mr. Díaz, who had planned to return to his municipal job in Veracruz this week, was instead in the hospital recovering from surgery on Monday. His lawyer declined to comment.

Jo Corona and Caitlin Dickerson contributed reporting.

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