New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is putting federal immigration officials on notice, threatening to sue U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement in a cease and desist letter, claiming that ICE agents operating in the state have become “increasingly reckless and reflect a serious disregard for the rule of law."
Cuomo sent a letter to ICE Deputy Director Thomas Homan on Wednesday following hundreds of recent arrests of immigrants from dozens of countries, calling the agency and its agents’ actions unconstitutional, “irresponsible, and in many cases, illegal.”
“As reflected in news reports and individual accounts, the irresponsible, and in many cases, illegal conduct of members of your agency is eroding trust in the foundations of our communities, threatening the sanctity of our public institutions and unnecessarily stoking terror among law-abiding residents under the guise of promoting homeland security and public safety.”
The letter specifically points to an arrest by ICE agents of a dairy farmer in Rome, when the man was pushed up against a window by agents in front of his children, who were waiting for the school bus. The farmer approached agents taking video of the altercation on his cellphone when he was taken to the ground and handcuffed.
“Your agency’s aggressive claims of upholding the rule of law belie the fact that the pattern of conduct and blatant constitutional violations committed by both agents in the field and regional leadership actually reflect a readiness to sink to lawlessness, Cuomo stated. “My administration has received numerous first-hand accounts of conduct that raises serious constitutional concerns, the very law your agency is sworn to protect and defend.”
Cuomo also highlighted an incident in Staten Island, where there has recently been several ICE sweeps for arrests, which have “seriously undermined the safety and health of several communities,” according to the Governor.
“In New York, the guarantees of the Constitution actually mean something. They protect private property owners operating businesses and protect the safety of their families and employees,” he said. “They protect our communities and institutions so that our residents feel safe taking their children to school, sick family members to a hospital or contacting local law enforcement for help when they need it.
“Your actions run counter to your stated mission, and to Federal and State law. As such, you must cease and desist in this pattern of conduct immediately, direct your agents operating in New York to follow the clear constitutional requirements attendant to searches and arrests, stop illegally targeting individuals based on their constitutionally protected speech, and properly engage state and local law enforcement when performing any enforcement action in the State of New York."
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