HUDSON, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office has implemented a policy codifying non-cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Meaning, they will not actively participate in immigration enforcement.
The policy’s adoption comes after years of the Columbia County Sanctuary Movement (CCSM) organizing and months of testimony of community members about their experiences. That testimony was shared with the Columbia County Sheriff’s department to advocate for non-cooperation for immigration policies within the department.
“Every community member should feel safe regardless of where they are from or who they are,” Jarin Ahmed, Coordinating Committee member of CCSM testified back in November. “This policy is a step towards an open and positive relationship with police agencies and immigrant communities. We will continue organizing to enforce this policy and enact language access throughout the reform process and beyond.”
The policy was adopted by the Sheriff’s Office on February 19 in response to a series of local police reform and accountability panels. The policy states that County Sheriff’s Officers will not ask about residency, place of birth, immigration, or citizenship status except for reporting purposes or when legally obligated. And, they are prohibited from sharing this information with ICE except when legally obligated.
Additionally, the Sheriff’s Office will not detain or arrest anyone for civil immigration purposes or in a response to a civil administration warrant. Also, they will go through training to identify the difference between a judicial warrant and a civil administrative warrant and detainer.
“I was pulled over for a loud exhaust, arrested by the police, and given to ICE,” Daniel Hernandez, member of CCSM, recalled. “No one deserves to be separated from their family and face deportation because of a traffic violation.”
According to the CCSM, Rensselaer County is now the only county in the state to use county tax dollars to enforce federal immigration laws, despite the regional and statewide move toward non-cooperation with ICE.