Three weeks after the New York State Appellate Court for the Second Division issued a ruling against Suffolk County’s policy of holding immigrants on ICE detainers and non-judicial warrants, implementation of the important ruling is still proceeding.
In the Francis case, according to the New York Civil Liberties Union, “the court held that when state and local officers – including corrections officers at a county jail – arrest, seize, hold, or otherwise detain a person beyond the time that they would otherwise be released based on a civil immigration detainer, they are making an unauthorized arrest in violation of state law.” On the day of the ruling, the Suffolk Sheriff Errol Toulon told Newsday that he directed his officers to immediately cease holding immigrants on these ICE detainers and warrants. Nassau Sheriff Vera Fludd gave her staff a similar directive the same evening, but did not issue a public statement, and advocates only found out about her action the following week.
Concerns were raised when Nassau law enforcement held an immigrant based solely on a non-judicial ICE detainer notice last week, seven days after the court decision finding such arrests illegal. The detention lasted approximately an hour and the immigrant was released when officers were told to do so by supervisors. Advocates worry that information about the Francis ruling has not been promptly and fully disseminated to local law enforcement officers and that such illegal arrests may be continuing.
Community groups like the New York Civil Liberties Union, CARECEN, and Jobs with Justice are pressing the two counties to issue clear public guidance on the treatment of immigrants by law enforcement. The Hofstra Law School Clinic is also pursuing litigation against Nassau (CARECEN v. Nassau) that would reinforce the new policies. Latino Justice also has a lawsuit in Federal District Court challenging Suffolk County’s policing policies in immigrant communities as well.
The New York Civil Liberties Union is asking concerned Long Islanders to report any suspected violations of the court’s ruling at firstname.lastname@example.org.