An unlicensed cab driver will seek to show a federal jury this week that the police department is failing to abide by Mayor Bloomberg's pledge that the city won't alert immigration authorities to illegal aliens who otherwise obey the law.
Alien Sues, Saying NYPD Called in Feds
The case of the cab driver, Waheed Saleh of Jenin in the West Bank, indicates that a New York City police lieutenant casually tipped off a federal immigration officer about Mr. Saleh's immigration status, court documents in the case show.
Mr. Saleh's civil trial against the lieutenant and another police officer is expected to begin tomorrow. It may be the first time that the city has been called to account in connection with Mr. Bloomberg's Executive Order 41. Issued in 2003, that order was intended to encourage illegal immigrants to seek out help from the police department and other agencies and allay fears that the city would turn their names over to federal immigration officials.
Court records show that police officers considered Mr. Saleh to be a troublemaker who could turn violent when confronted by the minor annoyances of big-city life, such as a dispute over a parking spot or the high price of cigarettes. In one instance, officers responded to a 911 call from a bodega employee who claimed Mr. Saleh threw a pack of cigarettes at him after a dispute over its price, according to court documents. In another instance, police officers broke up a fistfight between Mr. Saleh and another man over a parking spot, according to depositions. Police believed that Mr. Saleh, earlier in the fight, had tried to use his vehicle to ram a person standing in the street, the documents say.
The city's policy for not sharing information with the federal government about illegal immigrants contains an exception for immigrants suspected of crimes. Given Mr. Saleh's trouble with the law, he appears to fall under that exception. Police policy in effect at the time, but no longer, required communications between the NYPD and federal immigration officials to begin with a written report that went through the NYPD's Intelligence Division.