Host Jake Tapper asked de Blasio about New York's status as a sanctuary city and what level of crime it would take for New York to comply with federal officials and hand over illegal immigrants to federal authorities.
"Under a new sanctuary city that you approved in October 2014, the city of New York shields from the feds undocumented immigrants who commit what are deemed to be lesser offenses, but they include drunk driving and grand larceny," Tapper said. "Why shouldn't the city of New York comply with federal law in this area? If you're a drunk driver and you're an undocumented immigrant, why should there be a place for you in this country?"
"Jake, there are 170 offenses in that law that are listed as serious and violent crimes that lead to automatic cooperation between the city of New York and our federal partners," de Blasio said. "So any serious and violent crime, we're going to work with them."
De Blasio added that minor offenses do not warrant deportation from the United States.
"Is grand larceny or drunk driving a very minor offense?" Tapper asked.
"Drunk driving that does not lead to any other negative outcome I could define as that," de Blasio said.
MADD officials issued a statement Monday blasting de Blasio for comments he made to CNN Sunday suggesting that drunk driving was a minor offense.
"There is nothing minor when drunk driving kills or injures 300,000 people every year,” said Richard Mallow, MADD’s state director. “Drunk driving is always a major offense and we should never minimize the impact it has on families and victims."
De Blasio’s comments came in response to a question from CNN host Jake Tapper about the city’s stance as a so-called sanctuary city and its refusal to turn over illegal immigrants who commit minor offenses to federal immigration authorities for possible deportation.
De Blasio said the city has a list of 170 serious offenses that merit turning over an undocumented immigrant to the federal government.
“We’re not going to see families torn apart over a very minor offense,” the mayor told Tapper
“But is grand larceny or drunk driving a very minor offense?” Tapper asked.