Gov. Cuomo condemns ICE arrest tactics, threatens lawsuit


Andrew Cuomo threatened to sue federal immigration officials Wednesday following a raid on an upstate dairy farm during which armed federal agents allegedly trespassed on private property and handcuffed an American citizen who tried to videotape the incident.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement Deputy Director Thomas D. Homan responded hours later with a six-paragraph statement that accused Cuomo of "grandstanding". Last week, the Governor said that the dramatic increase in the number of ICE raids and their overly aggressive tactics raise serious concerns and directed Secretary of State Rossana Rosado, who runs the Liberty Defense Project, to expedite funding to two legal organizations that can provide expedited legal services - the Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights and the Vera Institute of Justice. Collins, who said the worker has proper documentation to work in the US, said the officers grabbed his phone and threw it - destroying it - when he used it to videotape the arrest.

He cited instances of this, including the complaint of a dairy farmer, John Collins, who claimed ICE raided his NY farm and arrested an employee of his without showing him a warrant and handcuffed him when he attempted to film them.

"I believe ICE has been politicized, if not directly then indirectly", he said, "in that their aggressive tactics, aggressive behavior - unconstitutional, illegal behavior - is being fueled by the political rhetoric of the administration". "After detaining our clients through warrantless arrests, ICE has a pattern and practice of failing to produce these individuals for subsequent criminal court hearings".

Andrew Cuomo issued a cease-and-desist letter to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, demanding they stop conducting raids without warrants. I believe that's not what America is all about, because immigration is not just the NY story.

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As The Washington Post noted, the legal force of a cease-and-desist letter from a state governor to a government agency is unclear. But it prohibits law enforcement officers from asking about immigration status unless they are probing unlawful activity.

According to a report released by Farm Credit East, which is based on 2012 Census data, it is estimated approximately 1,080 NY farms would be impacted by the deportation of undocumented agricultural workers, forcing these farms to go out of business or significantly reduce their operations. "These fearless men and women leave the safety of their homes every day to protect this great nation and our communities".

Just one week ago, ICE agents arrested over 220 illegal aliens, including more than 180 convicted criminals in a multi-day effort across the state.

"The governor supports these policies at the expense of the safety of the very same communities he took an oath to protect", Homan said. We're enforcing the laws enacted by Congress.

"The Governor's comments were inaccurate and an insult to ICE's sworn law enforcement officers who conduct their lawful mission professionally and with integrity", Homan said.