Court Challenge to Nassau Police Over ICE Cases

On Monday, an immigration rights advocate filed a lawsuit against the Nassau County Police Department for the policy of holding in detention immigrants wanted for deportation by federal authorities. The complaint alleges that the policy contradicts New York state law, and is thus unlawful.

The legal argument has emerged from the departmental policy that sees database queries being run on anyone the police arrest and then holds for up to 48 hours, or any immigrants who have had an administrative request issued on them by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), rather than a warrant issued by a judge. The lawsuit contends that criminal procedure law in the state requires that officers can make arrests without a warrant only in the event that they have reasonable grounds to believe a crime has occurred or is about to take place, neither of which applies to undocumented immigrants.

The suit was filed on behalf of an unidentified 26-year-old woman and the non-profit Hempstead organization, the Central American Refugee Center at Mineola’s Supreme Court. Law students and staff with Hofstra Law School’s Deportation Defense Clinic are also assisting with the suit.

Deportation Defense Clinic clinical fellow, Roni Amit, says they are challenging the policy of cooperation with ICE after the arrest of immigrants pursued by Nassau County Police Department, a policy she says means that any contact with police, including routine traffic stops, could result in people being unlawfully detained.