On Monday, Nassau Supervising Judge Norman St. George issued a memorandum to courts in the county informing them of the State Appellate Division court ruling that detention of immigrants by local police and sheriffs based on ICE detainers is illegal.
The sheriffs in both Nassau and Suffolk counties were holding immigrants past their legal incarceration dates based solely on the non-judicial warrants and detainers issued by ICE. These detainers are not criminal warrants and are purely civil in nature. They cannot, said the court, be used to keep people in jail in New York State.
According to the memo, the Nassau Sheriff has sent a directive to staff directing that “All inmates who have been released from custody are to be processed for discharge without delay, regardless of whether there is a detainer and administrative warrant lodged against them by DHS/ICE. Under no circumstances shall the release of an inmate be delayed in any way or for any amount of time.” This effectively ends the illegal practice in Nassau.
The Supervising Judge says in his memo that “all judicial” personnel must also comply with the Appellate Division decision. Judges cannot continue a defendant’s incarceration simply because it is requested by ICE.
The lawsuit, brought by the New York Civil Liberties Union, was focused on the detention of an Indian immigrant past his release date by the Suffolk Sheriff’s Office for the purpose of his transfer to ICE custody. By last Thursday night Suffolk Sheriff Errol Toulon terminated the honoring of ICE detainers. Now the Nassau Sheriff has followed suit in ending this illegal practice.