BY ARIEL HERNANDEZ
Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a cease-and-desist letter last week to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Deputy Director Thomas Homan following ICE raids across New York State in mid-April that resulted in the arrests of nearly 300 immigrant persons.
“The reckless and unconstitutional practices ICE is deploying in our communities violate everything we believe in New York and are an assault on our democracy,” said Cuomo. “I demand ICE immediately cease and desist this pattern of conduct.”
Borough officials and community leaders told the Queens Tribune they were pleased that the governor issued a warning to ICE.
“I applaud the governor for his actions that aim to protect our immigrant communities,” said Councilman Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria).
“New York was built by immigrants and continues to be the best city in the world because of our immigrant community.”
State Sen. Jose Peralta (D-Elmhurst) said that he supports Cuomo’s executive order to ban ICE agents from arresting people in state government buildings without adequate warrants. Cuomo signed the order last year as the number of arrests made by ICE increased in the state.
“The attacks of the Trump administration on our immigrant communities are constant and reprehensible,” said Peralta. “We are a nation of immigrants, and as such, I will continue to fight and push back against these and other intolerable policies coming straight out of the White House.”
Tina Luongo, the attorney-in-charge of the Legal Aid Society’s Criminal Defense Practice, and Deborah Wright, the president of the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys, released a joint statement calling on Janet DiFiore, the chief judge of the state’s Court of Appeals, to join Cuomo’s efforts to ensure that ICE stays out of courthouses.
“ICE’s presence in our courts undermines our ability to represent our clients and safeguard their constitutional rights,” the duo said.
“Immigrant defendants and witnesses are terrified to appear in court, knowing that ICE is indiscriminately targeting anyone who is not a U.S. citizen. After detaining our clients through warrantless arrests, ICE has a pattern and practice of failing to produce these individuals for subsequent criminal court hearings. And having an open criminal case prejudices our clients’ ability to seek relief from removal in immigration court.”