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Feb 16, 2017 11:01 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Local Lawmakers Say Immigration Enforcement Is Not The Job Of Local Police

Supervisor Larry Cantwell told supporters of the immigrant population that East Hampton Town would not enter into any agreements with the federal government to help enforce immigration laws. KYRIL BROMLEY
Feb 21, 2017 11:15 AM

In a week when immigrant advocacy groups staged protests around the region against President Donald Trump’s efforts to ramp up enforcement of immigration laws, the South Fork’s lawmakers said Southampton and East Hampton towns will not deputize their local police to enforce immigration laws.

Both East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell and Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said this week that they see no reason for their towns’ respective law enforcement agencies to change the level of cooperation with the federal Department of Homeland Security that they’ve practiced for years by taking advantage of a federal policy allowing local police to be deputized as Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.

Both supervisors, however, said their departments will continue to cooperate and communicate with federal enforcers with regard to immigration status information about people who are arrested for “a serious crime,” as Mr. Cantwell put it—separating the towns from the so-called “sanctuary cities” that have pledged not to share any information with federal immigration authorities.

Mr. Cantwell was blunt about the issue, saying the town will not change its longstanding policy with regard to cooperation with ICE.

“The Town of East Hampton will not enter into such an agreement with the federal government,” Mr. Cantwell told a standing-room-only crowd in East Hampton Town Hall on Thursday night, February 16, drawing applause. “Our enforcement personnel are not immigration officers. It’s not what they do. We do not seek out illegal immigrants during enforcement actions.”

The Southampton Town Police Department will have a new chief taking its reins later this year, and Mr. Schneiderman said specific town policies will have to be discussed further. But he was highly critical of the idea of deputizing local officers and extending the amount of time local agencies detain those they have arrested for minor crimes.

He recalled that in 2004, when he was a Suffolk County legislator, former County Executive Steve Levy had proposed having some County Police officers deputized as federal immigration agents. “It was extremely volatile at the county level, and it led to tremendous fear in the Latino community,” Mr. Schneiderman said on Monday. “The debate then was the same as it is now. It’s not a matter of not communicating or of not cooperating with ICE—we’re conferring with them all the time on criminal matters.

“I don’t think anyone is going to argue that someone who came here illegally and commits a violent crime should stay—they should be deported,” he continued. “There’s a case to be made that that isn’t the case with people who haven’t caused any problems. But I prefer [immigration policy] stay at the national level where it belongs. At the local level, it’s important our resources are focused on keeping people safe.”

The statements by the two supervisors were spurred by an executive order last month by President Trump instructing the Department of Homeland Security to advance the effort to deputize municipal police departments to help the federal agency enforce immigration laws. The order created no new federal policy or law and did not expand the powers or mission of federal immigration authorities. Local police nationwide have had the ability to be deputized for more than 20 years, but few departments have ever taken on the duty, largely because of the logistical burdens it would create.

Despite rumors of incidents locally, there have been no credible reports so far on the South Fork of a widening of existing enforcement policy, which focuses on undocumented people facing criminal charges. Nonetheless, with the Trump administration’s aggressive stance on immigration sowing fear of immigration sweeps and sudden detainments solely for immigration issues, stories this week abounded of families living in fear.

At an East Hampton Town Board meeting last week, supporters heaped pleas on the board to assuage the concerns of many immigrants.

Minerva Perez, executive director of Organizacion Latino-Americana, or OLA, a Latino community advocacy organization, asked town lawmakers to instruct police not to abide by 48-hour detention requests from ICE on individuals who have run afoul of the law for only minor issues, like vehicle and traffic law infractions. Ms. Perez said that if fear of immigration enforcement in any interaction with police finds roots, it could lead members of the immigrant community to withdraw from interaction with law enforcement, with disastrous consequences.

“The rupture of trust that vulnerable members of this community could have with law enforcement and the town is a breach of trust for us all when victims and witnesses begin to fear calling for help,” she said. “We owe it to ourselves to protect what we have and not accept an agenda that has no care for what we know to be a beautiful and safe community.”

Mr. Cantwell agreed that if immigrants fear the role of local police, it is counterproductive to protecting public safety. “There is a significant downside when people are underground, when they are afraid to report crimes,” he said. “That doesn’t work to benefit law enforcement in our community. That’s the kind of fear we have to overcome.”

Supporters asked the town to take a proactive stance in reassuring the Latino community about its plans to not bring immigration status into the town’s daily public safety enforcement. Some suggested community outreach efforts to assuage the fears within the Latino community—including instances of children sobbing when dropped off at school because they feared their parents could be detained while they were in classes, and some families asking friends to care for their children should they be whisked away suddenly.

“I’m here tonight to speak for the children, American citizens, who come to school each day with increasing sadness—they are not confident their family will be intact when they return,” said Dan Hartnett, a teacher and social worker at East Hampton High School. “Communities that work best are built on trust. Let’s build our protocols, especially with the police, on trust.”

“You cannot be passive about this,” said another speaker on Thursday, Bill Chaleff. “History is stained by passivity.”

Just hours earlier, federal ICE investigators had been in East Hampton in search of an unidentified individual with multiple felony charges against him or her. Town Police Chief Michael Sarlo confirmed that the federal agents had been in the town but could offer few details about their mission’s movements or success.

“There were ICE agents in town today to conduct an investigation into a repeat felony offender with a last known address in East Hampton,” Chief Sarlo said in an email on Thursday afternoon. “We ask all law enforcement agencies who come into our jurisdiction to contact our desk in the interest of safety. They did advise us they were here but did not ask for any assistance from us.”

The chief said he did not know who the person the federal agents were seeking was, what the crimes he or she was charged with or had been convicted of, or whether the agents located him or her.

Around the country on Thursday, immigrants and advocacy groups staged labor stoppages and protests over Mr. Trump’s immigration policies that organizers dubbed “A Day Without Immigrants.” Hundreds attended a show of support in Hampton Bays.

Mr. Cantwell’s stance on the town’s enforcement policies drew fire from supporters of more stringent immigration enforcement on Facebook and in online forums. Mr. Cantwell countered that the town’s stance was steered by fairness and prudence.

“We care about this issue,” he said. “We live in a multicultural community. We need to be fair to our immigrant community and respect them, and we intend to do that. We understand the fear.”

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Amazing you can pick and choose what laws to enforce considering they took an oath of office
Maybe the board members need to rethink who they represent. Bad decision!!!!!
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Feb 17, 17 4:20 AM
It is not a matter of picking & choosing which laws to enforce. Immigration laws are federal laws. Local police enforce state laws only. They have no jurisdiction in federal violations of law. immigration included.
By Bayman1 (297), Sag Harbor on Feb 18, 17 3:15 PM
1 member liked this comment
Way to stand behind your country Larry..... Really sad. People like you are are making matters even worse by making upo your own rules as you go, Get behind your country. Get behind your president!
By Hank1 (20), Sag Harbor on Feb 17, 17 6:35 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By wrk (20), East Hampton on Feb 21, 17 1:34 PM
Immigration and Nationality Act Section 287(g)

Enacted September 30, 1996
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Feb 17, 17 7:09 AM
More ignorance. The Americans were the immigrants in the country of Mexico during the battle of the Alamo.
By Mets fan (1501), Southampton on Feb 17, 17 4:41 PM
2 members liked this comment
Thank you Mr. Z for pointing out the law that authorizes partnership agreements has been on the books since 1996... and thank you Mr. Cantwell, and I quote, for "continuing to share information about those charged with "serious crimes" with federal agencies."

Where we part Mr. Cantwell is you seem to be talking out of both sides of your mouth. We both know the respect you are referring to is directed to those of the immigrant community who are in the country illegally, and have likely ...more
By Mr. Snerdley (397), Southampton on Feb 17, 17 7:57 AM
1 member liked this comment
When was this discussed at the Board level, When was the decision to refute the Executive Order made and by whom? If Cantwell says it was done in Execitive Session, it had no right being done there and that violates Open Meetings Law.. What are the ramifications of denial and should that not have been spelled out to the public. Cantwell has said before he wants to make East Hampton a sanctuary Town. Didnt Lord Larry think the taxpayers should fully understand the impact (including financial) ...more
By pluff (60), East Hampton on Feb 17, 17 8:17 AM
1 member liked this comment
If someone is in this country illegally then they should be working on being here legally. If they aren't doing so then they should be sent back home.

However, I can understand the fear of those who are here legally but may believe they would be subject to deportation due to any interaction with the police given the number of stories I read about people with visas or green cards being detained at airports or not allowed to board flights because of the recent travel ban.
By Rich Morey (378), East Hampton on Feb 17, 17 9:28 AM
Not surprised. Thousands of immigrants are employed illegally through out East Hampton Town. Guess Cantwell does not want to step on certain business people's toes. It's called selective enforcement. As far as the Feds checking in with local authorities before a raid. Please, give me a break!
By BruceB (142), Sag Harbor on Feb 17, 17 9:45 AM
My takeaway from this article is that there is a dangerous felon at large in Easthampton and the local police force not only do not know the name and appearance of this criminal but are not assisting Federal law enforcement officers in the attempt to apprehend thid person. Is there a warrant for arrest with information on this criminal? Is the Police Chief of Easthampton not privy to this warrant? How is the Police Chief not in violation of his oath to protect and serve the citizens of Easthampton?
By dfree (818), hampton bays on Feb 17, 17 12:13 PM
1 member liked this comment
Maybe re-read the article, dfree.
By Bayman1 (297), Sag Harbor on Feb 18, 17 3:14 PM
Those of you who live outside East Hampton should just shut up. What a bunch of loudmouths. Why don't you focus on your own town?

dfree.. the article doesn't say E Hampton police are refusing to help ICE track down the felon they are perusing? Maybe put on your glasses and try again. Jeez.
By harbor (415), East Hampton on Feb 17, 17 12:34 PM
"The chief said he did not know who the person the federal agents were seeking was, what the crimes he or she was charged with or been convicted of, or whether the agents located him or her. "

Gosh, most police officers would like to know about the wanted criminals in their jurisdiction. Maybe he thought it would be rude to ask.
By davidf (325), hampton bays on Feb 17, 17 2:05 PM
1 member liked this comment
You're absolutely right, the citizens and taxpayers of the Town of Southampton have no right to an opinion on the enforcement or lack thereof of laws in the Town of Easthampton.

Now can you PLEASE take back your Supervisor, he's spending our money on housing for your landscapers.
By dfree (818), hampton bays on Feb 17, 17 2:20 PM
2 members liked this comment
So let me get this straight harbor, if we don't live in EH we should just "shut up"? I take it you have no opinion on any matter that doesn't pertain to living in the Town of EH. I have to wonder if you are a hypocrite.
By dnice (2346), Hampton Bays on Feb 17, 17 3:05 PM
1 member liked this comment
East Hampton is TWO words. Southampton is only one.
By Rich Morey (378), East Hampton on Feb 17, 17 3:17 PM
Larry seems to be part of the problem. Trying to keep CHEAP labor for the contractors in his town. There are many unemployed Citizens that need work and will travel to Larry's Town for jobs.
Larry take a ride to the construction sites in your Town and see how many Citizens are working there. Shame on you and the contractors for hiring ILLEGALS, IT'S AGAINST THE LAW.
By knitter (1941), Southampton on Feb 17, 17 12:45 PM
Well, at least you understand that it's the employers and not the illegals who are the problem. That's a start.
By johnj (1024), Westhampton on Feb 17, 17 1:13 PM
1 member liked this comment
Wouldn't be a problem if the illegal aliens weren't here in the first place; that's why they are "illegal".
By Preliator Lives (437), Obamavillie on Feb 17, 17 2:33 PM
They are both part of the problem johnj.
By dnice (2346), Hampton Bays on Feb 17, 17 3:06 PM
Cantwell is just trying to protect East Hampton's shadow economy, why do you think they are so lax in enforcing the codes. Over half of East Hampton's schools are populated by the children of illegal aliens; thank you tax payers.
By Preliator Lives (437), Obamavillie on Feb 17, 17 2:24 PM
1 member liked this comment
Legal immigrants welcome - illegal immigrants not!

By disappointed (96), wainscott on Feb 17, 17 2:54 PM
3 members liked this comment
Absolutely! Immigration is what made and continues to make this country great but it has to be legal. We dishonor the immigrants that did the right thing by allowing illegals to remain in this country. What one person can do, another can do.
By dnice (2346), Hampton Bays on Feb 17, 17 3:11 PM
The GOP and Trump are fighting hard to reduce legal immigration as well. That certainly does not send a message of "legal immigrants welcome."
By SH_Res (342), Southampton on Feb 18, 17 9:13 AM
How so?

Looking at the 90 day travel ban alone (with emphasis on temporary until the process could be reviewed), visa and legal permanent residents were able to travel.
By Mr. Snerdley (397), Southampton on Feb 18, 17 9:32 AM
Just last week GOP senators introduced a bill that would cut legal immigration in half, and this idea has been backed by Trump for months now. Halving legal immigration is a pretty massive attack on it.

Also, in response to your comment about the travel ban, which wasn't what I was referring to (although I didn't make that clear): "Visa and legal permanent residents were able to travel." - This is not true at all. People with legal permanent resident status were denied entry at first, although ...more
By SH_Res (342), Southampton on Feb 18, 17 10:25 AM
You mean the bill that would focus on immigration that serves the best interests of the country and American workers and wages? Why is that bad? Legal immigrants are most certainly welcome as long as they are... LEGAL.

And to your comment about legal permanent residents and visa holders...people with permanent resident status were denied because the guidance was unclear... NOT because they were banned. HUGE difference. Visa holders in certain categories WERE permitted entry and some ...more
By Mr. Snerdley (397), Southampton on Feb 19, 17 10:02 PM
"You mean the bill that would focus on immigration that serves the best interests of the country and American workers and wages? Why is that bad? Legal immigrants are most certainly welcome as long as they are... LEGAL."

--Serves the best interests of the country in whose opinion? This is how some GOP senators pitched it (typical politics) but plenty of people would take issue with this assertion so it can't be stated as fact. My point still stands that trying to halve the number of legal ...more
By SH_Res (342), Southampton on Feb 20, 17 11:05 AM
"--Serves the best interests of the country in whose opinion?"

I think it's safe to say we (the US) has an abundant pool of largely unskilled labor as a result of current immigration policy and illegal immigration. Simple supply and demand would indicate wages for the lower and middle class would (likely) rise by limiting immigration to that which best serves the country. Limiting immigration based on the needs of the country is pretty typical across the globe. That's hardly an "attack ...more
By Mr. Snerdley (397), Southampton on Feb 21, 17 8:33 AM
You missed my point - I said the guidance from the White House was NOT UNCLEAR in the beginning when it came to green card holders. They made it perfectly clear that legal permanent residents were intended to be barred. They confirmed this multiple times between Friday when the EO was issued and Sunday when they finally changed their minds.

Your original comment on visa holders was "visa and legal permanent residents were able to travel." This was just false. Your second comment was "Visa ...more
By SH_Res (342), Southampton on Feb 22, 17 5:03 AM
What you are referencing on the permanent residents was poor guidance and execution from the White House. There is no disagreement there. But the confusion was shortlived with the EO being signed on Friday and legal determinations made on Friday night that LPRs could travel, and at worst, it would be a case by case basis after a secondary screening upon arrival. The airlines received the guidance ""lawful permanent residents are not included and may continue to travel to the USA."

"You've ...more
By Mr. Snerdley (397), Southampton on Feb 22, 17 11:44 AM
We're in agreement that the administration completely screwed up the roll-out of the EO implementation, which is why DHS was sending out different messages than the White House about legal permanent residents. The question at hand here in our discussion is whether or not the White House originally intended to bar legal permanent residents from entering the U.S. under the EO, and it was clear when they overruled DHS on this issue that legal permanent residents were indeed intended to be barred from ...more
By SH_Res (342), Southampton on Feb 22, 17 5:12 PM
Immigration without integration is invasion.
By Duckbornandraised (184), Eastport on Feb 17, 17 3:13 PM
East Hampton should lose any and all Federal and/or State funding. We are a nation of laws. this is a disgrace.
By The Real World (368), southampton on Feb 17, 17 3:50 PM
1 member liked this comment
Loads of unfilled trades jobs in East Hampton. Anyone with skills can find one.
By harbor (415), East Hampton on Feb 17, 17 11:26 PM
Ill be sure NOT to spend my $ in EH Village anymore!!
By toes in the water (884), southampton on Feb 18, 17 7:39 AM
Toes in the water: get a grip. We're talking about East Hampton TOWN> The Village is not a player here. Why do people who have no idea what they are talking about persist in posting on this site?
By fire11 (276), east hampton on Feb 18, 17 9:55 AM
BTW the 90-Day travel ban is limited to six places were radical Islamic terrorists have a foothold and are flying into this country from. Please stop pretending or ignoring this fact it just feeds into the hysteria being whipped up by the losing party and the press. The ban is a good thing. let's make sure the new Trade Center stays up for awhile, or have you all forgotten 9-11 already?
By fire11 (276), east hampton on Feb 18, 17 9:58 AM
1 member liked this comment
Maybe ICE should make a showing at jobs and fine our contractors breaking the laws.
Don't bother with EH Town, start in SH Town. Not those one day deals, every day.
Years ago we had day laborers working at our farms and other jobs, but they left during the winters. They didn't tax out schools, hospitals and police.
By knitter (1941), Southampton on Feb 18, 17 11:47 AM
"We understand the fear" LOL. How about, "We understand the laws of the United States"? Liberal thinking is quite contrary to existing laws, isn't it?
By Lets go mets (377), Southampton on Feb 18, 17 11:55 PM
If an anonymous caller dialled in to the East Hampton Town Police, and said there was.an undocumented resident providing liquor to underage persons, would the Town Police investigate and arrest like the recent arrest of a local citizen ? What if that happened in another jurisdiction and the undocumented resident left that location, moved to East Hampton to evade a court appearance? What if the anonymous caller said the undocumented resident was driving with no car insurance and registration? What ...more
By dfree (818), hampton bays on Feb 19, 17 6:55 PM
If illegals are allowed to drive with suspended license plus unregistred vehicle injure or kill someone they know what they are doing breaking the law oh their family knows this also so they should be deported also don't use excuse they have children not a good roll model for them just saying
By Sister (1), East Hampton on Feb 20, 17 5:21 PM
Why do contractors let illegal and non licensed people drive their vehicles? MONEY
Go after the problem, the ILLEGAL people hiring the ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS... Make BIG FINES for this will stop the ROOT of the problem
Like DRUGS if you have no customers there is no need...
By capt rich (12), Southampton on Feb 20, 17 6:16 PM
1 member liked this comment
Impose and enforce E-Verify, increase penalties for identity theft.

Ignoring those who would intentionally violate the law is just that...ignorant.
By loading... (601), quiogue on Feb 22, 17 8:13 AM
It is the job of local law enforcement to sit in their patrol cars behind fire houses and empty parking lots along the Riverside Traffic Circle in Flanders and drink coffee and BS. Then, at the end of the month, flood the area to write insane traffic summonses to make their quotas.
By Mouthampton (439), Southampton on Feb 22, 17 8:18 AM
Why did 27east change the headline of this article?
By Rich Morey (378), East Hampton on Feb 22, 17 10:45 AM
If East Hampton will selectively enforce than any summons is garbage, because we are protected by equal protection.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Feb 22, 17 10:54 AM
So when an illegal immigrant gets drunk and kills someone whose job is it? When they drive with no insurance, who pays? How can someone keep out of state plates indefinitely? Two weeks is the law! I'd like some Illinois plates, they come insurance free
By GregBall (19), Costa Mesa, California on Feb 23, 17 5:22 PM
1 member liked this comment
Here here! Right you are! American taxpayers bear the cost for their foibles. They are not taught about our laws - no valid driver's license - no auto insurance - no up to date inspection - They do not even know you cannot tie up a deer in your yard for later slaughter - their home countries do not have these basic laws and they come here thinking it is the same. Once in the legal system - they have to pay fines - attorneys - rehab counseling - and then they are enslaved to paying these debts ...more
By Vikki K (490), Southampton on Feb 24, 17 12:58 PM
Every day we see plates from Illinois and other states that don't require insurance etc. Where is our governor, not talking to the governor of Illinois.
If I drove around the village with out of state plates for a time I would be stopped.
By knitter (1941), Southampton on Feb 24, 17 10:34 AM
It will be fairly easy to remove many male illegal immigrants when the season comes - anytime you hear those noise/air polluting portable debris blowing machines - there they are! Perhaps their employers will therefore be required to pay a decent living wage to US citizens of any color or nationality for the same work - instead of ripping off the illegals - who are not advised about or protected from tick or chigger bites/lyme disease and have no healthcare to help them if they become ill - suffer ...more
By Vikki K (490), Southampton on Feb 24, 17 12:50 PM
Jeez Vikki K, what an ignorant comment. I am a native born, 5th generation American and I can be found using a leaf blower during the "season" . Sounds as if you are advocating for mass deportation of all illegals? Or are you just bashing capitalism?
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Feb 28, 17 12:53 PM
No - Not "mass deportation" - just undocumented competitors of your business - to their benefit as well as yours since they are not advised of the many safety/health issues involved...
By Vikki K (490), Southampton on Mar 2, 17 2:17 PM