ALBANY – In a letter sent Tuesday, the New York Civil Liberties Union admonished the Rensselaer County Sheriff's Office for entering into an agreement with federal immigration authorities that would deputize local law enforcement officers to work on behalf of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The NYCLU reiterated concerns that the program, known as a 287(g) agreement, would encourage racial profiling and harm public safety. Despite significant public concern and repeated outreach from NYCLU and community members, Rensselaer Sheriff Patrick Russo signed the agreement on January 30 without informing the public.
“The sheriff’s decision to deputize officers to work on behalf of ICE will sow distrust between immigrant communities and law enforcement,” said Melanie Trimble, NYCLU Capitol Region director. “This agreement was made without public input and disregards the needs of the people of Rensselaer County. The NYCLU will be closely monitoring implementation of this agreement to ensure that civil rights abuses including racial profiling, which have accompanied such programs in other states, do not occur in Rensselaer County.”