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Cuomo Cease and Desist Threat for ICE Conduct Draws Local Support

Governor Andrew Cuomo is taking a harsh stance against Immigration Enforcement. He issued a cease and desist letter to ICE yesterday to put an end to what he called reckless and unconstitutional enforcement. If the agency doesn’t comply, he will sue. New York Immigration Worker Coalition organizer Fabiola Ortiz Valdez appreciates Cuomo’s actions, but doesn’t think they’re enough.

 “The measures he’s taking is not allowing ICE in state buildings, right? But, unfortunately, our communities run the risk of deportation pretty much 24/7.”         

Not everyone agrees with Cuomo’s move. Senator John DeFrancisco says Cuomo is berating ICE and others in law enforcement because he doesn’t like President Donald Trump’s policies on immigration.

“My issue is the governor of the state of New York. And the governor of the state of New York whether he’s legitimately using his executive authority to do anything from determining who’s gonna vote, despite new law changes by state government, determine who should and should not be able to enforce what laws, even though they’re in the purview of the federal government.”      

Cuomo’s executive order will prevent ICE from arresting people in any state buildings without a warrant. Valdez works with the Worker’s Center of Central NY and the Immigrant and Refugee Defense Network. She stresses how important immigrants are to the region and says the farming industry would suffer without immigrant workers.

“What would happen to the dairy industry if these kinds of things happened in all the farms in upstate New York? The economy would collapse basically because we’re very much dependable on them. That’s what we think is not fair. There’s certainly some hypocrisy in the whole thing, right, in wanting people to leave, but also depending on their cheap labor for the economy to thrive.”              

Valdez applauds Cuomo, but says more can be done. She wants immigrants to get driver’s licenses, so they don’t get referred to immigration by state or city police. She also wants ICE to stop asking people about their immigration status at bus stops.



The executive order will forbid state agencies and officers from asking people about their immigration status, unless it's required by federal law, necessary to determine eligibility for a benefit or service or if law enforcement is investigating illegal activity. This also applies to disclosing information to federal immigration authorities for civil enforcement. The order follows an increase in ICE raids affecting the agricultural industry, which could potentially cost it thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in production.