As President Donald Trump enters the White House to assume the role of Commander-in-Chief, New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman created a set of legal tools for local law enforcement that outline how they can limit their participation in federal enforcement activities. These model policies can help local agencies protect their immigrant populations and build a sense of trust with the communities they serve.
President Trump vowed during the campaign to deport millions of immigrants as well as repeal temporary work authorization programs for undocumented individuals, like DACA. As such, many cities, counties, and districts around the country have enacted policies to protect their populations. Recently, the Suffolk County Sherriff’s department announced that they would accept Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) warrants without waiting for a judge’s order, a move criticized by the activist community.
The following is an excerpt from a press release from the Attorney General’s office:
“Anticipating potential changes in federal immigration enforcement practices and priorities, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today provided local governments and law enforcement agencies with a legal roadmap for improving public safety by protecting vulnerable immigrant communities. As part of that roadmap, A.G. Schneiderman also provided local governments with model laws and policies that, if voluntarily enacted by a local government, would codify ‘sanctuary’ policies into local law. In recent years, several cities across New York State, including Syracuse and New York City, have successfully adopted such policies.
The model provisions offered by the A.G.’s Civil Rights Bureau clarify that local New York law enforcement agencies can limit their participation in federal immigration enforcement activities in several ways, including by: (1) refusing to enforce non-judicial civil immigration warrants issued by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) or Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”), (2) protecting New Yorkers’ Fourth Amendment rights by denying federal requests to hold uncharged individuals in custody more than 48 hours, (3) limiting access of ICE and CBP agents to individuals currently in custody, and (4) limiting information gathering and reporting that will be used exclusively for federal immigration enforcement. The full policy guidance can be found here.
‘Public safety relies on trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve. No local law enforcement agency should have to undercut that trust just to carry out Donald Trump’s draconian immigration policies,’ said Attorney General Schneiderman. ‘The legal guidance and model policies my office released today give local governments the tools they need to protect immigrant communities from any over-reach by federal agencies. New York has a long history of welcoming immigrants and embracing diversity. Now, more than ever, we must stand up for our values of inclusion and pluralism.’
In addition to protecting vulnerable communities and promoting public safety, the A.G.’s model procedures would also insulate local authorities from potential legal liability arising out of Fourth Amendment (unlawful detention) claims and ensure that local governments are not forced to spend limited local resources on increased federal immigration enforcement efforts that do not improve public safety.”