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May 20, 2020

RENSSELAER COUNTY - Today, Rensselaer County Sheriff Pat Russo renewed the county's contract with ICE to participate in the 287(g) program, committing local officers to participate in federal immigration enforcement activities. In response, the New York Civil Liberties Union issued the following statement from Director of the Capital Region Chapter Melanie Trimble: 

“Today Rensselaer County’s sheriff renewed their contract with ICE to extend participation in the 287(g) program, which deputizes local officers to act as de facto federal immigration agents. Doubling down and extending this agreement until June 2021 is a bad deal in the best of times, and an unfathomable decision during a pandemic where community resources and public trust are critical.

Rensselaer is the only county in New York with such an agreement, and for two years Sheriff Pat Russo has used county resources to assign his officers to work as de facto ICE agents. When local law enforcement act like ICE, they own ICE's reputation and compromise their relationship with the community. In the two years since Sheriff Russo made his deal with ICE, it's difficult to see what the county has gained, but the drain on local resources, public safety and immigrant families is multiplied by the current health crisis. Sheriff Russo can rescind this agreement at any time, and he should do so immediately.”