Illegal immigrants and the New York Police Department (NYPD) are apparently teaming up to play soccer on Staten Island, according to a new report.
The idea was introduced by Deputy Chief Donna Jones, the second-highest ranking police officer on Staten Island, in conjunction with other immigrant advocates for the community. The objective is for each side to unite and gain a sense of camaraderie.
There is much controversy surrounding this move as the debate over stricter enforcement in so-called “sanctuary cities” continues to heat up. President Donald Trump pushes for tougher policing but his efforts are limited due to a lack of law enforcement’s cooperation with federal authorities.
Cool idea. Can ICE agents play also?
— Charlton Heston is my spirit animal (@kimsey_n) April 5, 2018
“We don’t ask questions. You know, you could be a full-fledged citizen or just crossed the border — it doesn’t matter. We’re here to play ball, and not ask questions,” said NYPD Det. Thomas Delacy, according to NY1.
This is part of an initiative to gain trust in order to make the community safer, set by the NYPD’s community policing strategy program.
“It’s good what they’re doing, because they’re making our community come and have fun,” said player Edwin Guzman.
New York City is a “sanctuary city.” NYPD policy does not allow officers to question anyone about their immigration status.
“We want to know you, and we want you to feel comfortable to come to us,” Delacy said.
“When we talk about, ‘Hey, come to this town hall meeting,’ people are reluctant because, obviously, they have a million things to do with their own lives. But when it comes to playing soccer, it’s much more receptive, and people want to come with their families, want to come with their friends,” said Cesar Vargas, the first immigrant without legal status to practice law in New York.
“Talk to each other — I think it’s very good to get a relationship with them. It’s nothing to be afraid of,” player Claudio Cuenca said.