A new report from the New York Immigration Coalition shows extensive efforts by ICE to manipulate police departments on Long Island into carrying out the Trump Administration’s anti-immigrant agenda. Under the guide of fighting the dangerous MS-13 gang, ICE created Operation Matador. The operation was supposed to last 90 days and focus exclusively on gang members. It is now in its third year of operations and has been behind the arrests of many Central Americans for purely civil immigration violations.
Many in law enforcement believed that the collaboration of local police with ICE and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) endangered police relations with immigrant communities and diverted police resources that were meant to be used for anti-gang work into immigration enforcement. The authors of the report obtained police records though a Freedom of Information Act request. They found that:
in an email exchange with Nassau County Police Commissioner Pat Ryder, John Durham, a career prosecutor with extensive experience investigating and prosecuting MS-13 cases, was irate at the creation of Operation Matador. In the email chain, Durham noted the EDNY US Attorney’s “serious concerns about this secondary task force” and further noted that “in our conversations and meetings, HSI has been unable to articulate any valid law enforcement reason for attempting to create a separate task force, which leads to the inevitable conclusion that they have no reason other than the politics between them and FBI… Our request would be that, if you have the resources to staff additional detectives to a federal task force, you add them to the [Long Island Gang Task Force], rather than joining a separate, competing task force that will fracture our response to the MS-13 and other criminal organizations, and create additional layers of deconfliction issues and headaches.”