ICE agents raided homes on Sept. 24 in the Nassau County towns of Westbury, Glen Cove, Hicksville and Port Washington on New York’s Long Island, with support from two sergeants and six officers of the Nassau County police. On Sept. 26, ICE raided homes in Freeport and Hempstead, assisted by four Nassau County police officers. A total of 82 immigrants were arrested in the raids.
On Sept. 27, at least 50 immigrants and immigration advocates gathered in Hempstead to protest the raids that took place in Latino communities in the towns of Hempstead, Westbury, Brentwood and Central Islip. “We cannot continue terrorizing families and breaking families apart,” said Omar Henriquez, board president of the Hempstead-based Workplace Project.
Also on Sept. 27, Nassau County Police Commissioner Lawrence Mulvey complained that his department had been “misled” by ICE about the nature of the raids. ICE had asked Nassau police to be present during the execution of arrest warrants for Nassau County residents who were affiliated with gangs, Mulvey said. The Nassau County police department had repeatedly asked ICE to share a list of suspected gang members targeted with arrest warrants, Mulvey said, but the request was only granted on Sept. 27—four days after the raids started. “We had asked for a list of the targets on the warrants because we have a very accurate and up-to-date database on gangs in Nassau County,” Mulvey said. “It was promised and not delivered.” According to Mulvey, the ICE agents appeared to have outdated intelligence on where some of the suspects were located.
Only three of those picked up in the raids were suspected gang members, said Mulvey. It was not clear whether the three were named in the warrants; Mulvey had earlier stated that none of those arrested were named in the warrants. Most or all of those arrested were out-of-status immigrants discovered at the raided homes—including a father who was caring for his four-month-old daughter while his wife was at work. The man was forced to leave the baby unattended when ICE arrested him on Sept. 24 in Westbury, his wife said at the Sept. 27 press conference criticizing the raids.
Mulvey said that if he thought the goal of ICE had been to arrest undocumented immigrants, the department would not have assisted. The presence of police during the raids erodes the trust developed between police and the community, which is crucial to getting victims and witnesses to cooperate in investigations, Mulvey noted. “This sets us back,” he said. “We suffer the consequences of the mistrust that develops.” Mulvey also said the ICE agents who took part in the operations appeared to have come from various locations across the country and didn’t even wear the same uniforms.
“We withdrew from any involvement in any further operations,”Mulvey said. “There will be no future cooperation unless these issues are ironed out.” (Newsday, Sept. 28; AP, Sept. 28)
From Immigration News Briefs, Sept. 30
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