Immigrant Rights Supporters Denounce Laura Curran’s Plan to Put ICE at Nassau University Medical Center

Advocates spoke at today's press conference opposing ICE setting up an office at Nassau Medical Center.

Immigrants and community advocates challenged County Executive Laura Curran’s decision to house ICE agents on the Nassau University Medical Center campus at a press conference at the entrance to the Teddy Roosevelt Courthouse in Mineola this morning.

Angela Papalia, a social worker with Adelphi New York Statewide Breast Cancer Hotline & Support Program at Nassau University Medical Center said that Curran’s decision was placing the health of immigrants in danger. “We have concerns that women, children and families will not receive lifesaving care due to the fear that has arisen by the news that was released yesterday,” she told reporters.

Curran’s decision to move ICE to the Medical Center came after she had asked them a trailer at the county jail next door. Susan Gottehrer of the Nassau Civil Liberties Union told Newsday that “It is not Laura Curran’s job to find a home for ICE. Period. So, we’re asking that she sticks to her guns, stand up to the fearmongering, and close down the ICE trailer at the jail.”

Melissa Figueroa of the Long island Immigrant Student  Advocates (LIISA) said that the plan to open an ICE center on the hospital grounds was “devastating news” for immigrant students. She said that if parents are afraid to go to the Medical Center, they will not take their children for the health care they need.

Cheryl Keshner from Empire Justice Center said that “I have been working with immigrants in Nassau County for more than thirty years, and I must say that this is one of the most outrageous things I have ever seen.”  She said that immigrants are already afraid to access government services because of the growing fear of ICE. This move by the county executive will only heighten that fear, she said, without increasing anyone’s safety.

Please call Laura Curran at 516-571-3131 and tell her ICE does not belong at the hospital.

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Patrick Young blogs daily for Long Island Wins. He is the Downstate Advocacy Director of the New York Immigration Coalition and Special Professor of Immigration Law at Hofstra School of Law. He served as the Director of Legal Services and Program at Central American Refugee Center (CARECEN) for three decades before retiring in 2019. Pat is also a student of immigration history and the author of The Immigrants' Civil War.

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