NY Daily News | Upstate County Deputizing Authorities as ICE Agents, Prompting Call to End Practice
By Rex Brown
A single New York county outside of Albany participates in a program that deputizes local authorities as immigration agents — and now advocates are calling on Gov. Cuomo to prohibit the initiative statewide.
Last month, Rensselaer County Sheriff Patrick Russo opted into a partnership with ICE, known as 287g. Two correction officers in the sheriff’s department will soon have authority to question suspects about their immigration statuses and detain them for deportation, if appropriate.
The Legal Aid Society wrote Monday in a letter to Cuomo that one New York county in the program is one too many.
“Rensselaer could lead to more jurisdictions across our progressive state entering into these formal partnerships with ICE,” Legal Aid wrote, imploring Cuomo to issue an executive order or press for legislation to prevent such collaboration with the feds.
Russo said that the program would make immigrant communities safer — not create distrust of law enforcement.
“We want to send a message: Don’t come here. If you get picked up, you’re going to get vetted. If you're wanted, you're going to get deported,” Russo said.
An ICE spokesman rejected criticism that the partnership sows division between law enforcement and communities.