To: Livingston County Sheriff and Police Chiefs
Petition for Secure and Just Communities in Livingston County, NY
Dear Livingston County Sheriff and Police Chiefs:
We applaud the statement found on the Livingston County Sheriff's Office web page:
" Law enforcement must respect the people that we serve. When we all work together and keep the lines of communication open, we can achieve our primary common goal–public safety."
Thus, it is in the spirit of respect of *all* members of our community, our communication, and our public safety that we are writing to you.
We are gravely concerned that public safety will be put at risk by entanglements between Livingston County Police Departments (LCPDs) and federal immigration enforcement agencies (FIEAs) and we urge you to minimize interactions between your departments and these agencies to those absolutely required by law. In the interest of public safety, the New York State Attorney General has issued clear and pointed guidance on how local police can minimize entanglements with FIEAs and we urge LCPDs to publicly adopt the Attorney General's guidance (https://ag.ny.gov/sites/default/files/guidance_and_supplement_final3.12.17.pdf).
LCPDs are (criminal) law enforcement agencies and it is important to note that simply being an undocumented person is not a crime. We are concerned that if LCPDs become identified with immigration enforcement, then victims of crimes--real crimes, whether they are undocumented individuals or U.S. citizens with undocumented friends or relatives--will not report these crimes or cooperate with criminal investigations. This leaves criminals at large, free to continue to threaten our community.
The community is not well served if local public safety resources are wasted to aid FIEAs apprehend and detain undocumented individuals who have not committed a crime. What sense does it make to use local tax revenue to apprehend and/or detain individuals who are abiding by the law?
An undocumented individual who entered the country legally has not committed a criminal act by simply overstaying their visa term. Both the U.S. and N.Y. State Constitutions afford all individuals within their jurisdictions, undocumented individuals and citizens alike, certain due process rights. Thus, entanglements with FIEAs could lead LCPDs to violate these due process rights and could subject Livingston County municipalities to potentially costly litigation. Why accept these litigation risks when the FIEA entanglements do nothing to enhance public safety?
To avoid entanglements with FIEAs, except in extraordinary circumstances (e.g. being a suspect in a serious crime) we respectfully request that:
1. In regard to minor offenses (e.g., traffic violations) LCPDs will prohibit its officers from contacting U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for interpretation assistance or alert ICE or CBP to individuals suspected or known to be undocumented.
2. LCPDs officers refrain from inquiring into a person’s immigration status unless required by law.
3. LCPDs decline any request from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to enter into a 287(g) agreement. The 287(g) program deputizes local law enforcement officers to act as federal immigration agents within their local jurisdictions. Currently, there are no 287(g) agreements in New York State.
4. LCPDs clarify to its officers that they should not investigate violations of federal immigration law.
5. The resources of LCPDs will not be used to create or assist in the creation of any federal registry based on race, religion, ethnicity, or national origin.
Let’s continue to work together to make our Livingston County communities more secure and more just for all within.
Why is this important?
To make our Livingston Counties communities more secure and more just.
It is just to pull over and ticket bad drivers, but it does not make our community more secure, nor is it just, to deport them because of that.