One month after the NYPD's deputy commissioner for legal affairs insisted to reporters that no one who gets arrested for turnstile jumping could be deported, NYPD commissioner James O'Neill admitted that an immigrant could be deported as the result of a turnstile jumping arrest.
O'Neill, testifying in front of the City Council at a budget hearing Thursday, was reportedly asked by City Council Member Rory Lancman if a turnstile jumping arrest could lead to deportation even for a legal immigrant. While at first O'Neill said that "there is a threshold for actually getting arrested," and that an arrest would only happen after repeated instances of getting busted for turnstile jumping or if the person caught in the act had an open warrant or no ID, Lancman pressed O'Neill to admit that the arrest could lead to deportation.
O'Neill said that yes, those arrests could lead to an immigrant getting deported, but also challenged Lancman as to whether he wanted the NYPD to stop "fare evasion enforcement," according to Politico. The admission still comes as a change, compared to a press conference last month in which NYPD deputy commissioner of legal affairs Larry Byrne told reporters "Nobody is getting deported for jumping a turnstile."
Byrne's case was similar to the one that O'Neill made yesterday, in that he suggested that since no one but "a transit recidivist" gets a criminal summons for turnstile jumping, a civil summons is given in most of the cases of turnstile jumping busts in the city. However, new ICE guidelines under President Trump allow the agency to deport people who have been arrested for a crime, even before they're convicted. In addition, turnstile jumping is categorized under "crimes of moral turpitude," which means that two arrests for the offense would allow the government to even deport a green card-holding immiagrant.
As for Lancman, he took to Twitter to again call on Mayor de Blasio to shift fare jumping from a criminal to a civil offense, in order to keep people from being arrested for it.
If the Mayor is serious about protecting immigrant NYers from Trump, than he must direct NYPD to treat fare evasion as civil offense.
— (((Rory Lancman))) (@RoryLancman) March 31, 2017