The New York Civil Liberties Union sent a letter to leaders of the Rensselaer County Legislature today calling for public discussion of the Sheriff’s Office’s application to participate in the federal 287(g) program. The program would deputize local law enforcement to enforce immigration law. Members of the county legislature and the Rensselaer County Sheriff Patrick Russo met behind closed doors Tuesday with no notice to the public or opportunity for comment.
The following statement is attributable to Melanie Trimble, director of the Capital Region chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union:
“Any formal partnership with ICE, even if a limited number of officers is involved, sends a message to immigrant communities that local law enforcement is working hand-in-hand with those targeting them for deportation. The public deserves transparency and an opportunity for input on an agreement that would have serious consequences for community trust and public safety.
“It is the job of local law enforcement officers to serve and protect their communities, not to do the bidding of federal agencies tasked with enforcing civil immigration law. The vast majority of sheriff’s offices and police departments understand this, which is why there are only 59 jurisdictions across the country participating in 287(g), and not a single one in the state of New York.”