LONG ISLAND ‒ Representatives Peter King and Lee Zeldin sent a letter to the Nassau and Suffolk County Sheriffs yesterday urging them to deputize officers to act as immigration agents through the federal 287(g) program, following a court ruling in the New York Civil Liberties Union’s case People ex rel. Wells v. DeMarco that held local law enforcement do not have the power to make immigration arrests.
The NYCLU’s Nassau County Chapter Director Susan Gottehrer and Suffolk County Chapter Director Irma Solis issued the following joint statement:
“The court was very clear: state law does not give local law enforcement the authority to detain people for civil immigration violations. Local law enforcement are responsible for keeping all of our communities safe, and they rely on the trust and cooperation of the community to do their jobs.
“Entering into a 287(g) agreement would not give officers any authority to honor ICE detainers or hold inmates beyond their release date, but would send a message to the immigrant community that law enforcement is not there to protect them. Immigrants, their friends and their families would have reason to fear reporting crimes, cooperating with investigations or reaching out during emergencies.
“Eroding the trust between immigrant communities and police makes all of us less safe.”