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Mar 8, 2017 11:58 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town Officials Talk Immigration Concerns, Plan To Clarify Policy For Public

Minerva Perez, a Sag Harbor resident and the executive director of OrganizaciĆ³n Latino Americana. JEN NEWMAN
Mar 8, 2017 3:28 PM

Both Southampton Town’s supervisor and its incoming police chief say it is unlikely there will be any changes to the police department’s policies as far as immigration is concerned.

But Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said this week that he intends to discuss formalizing the town’s policy to make its position clearer for the public—including the undocumented immigrants who will be affected most by it.

Both Mr. Schneiderman and incoming Southampton Town Police Chief Steven Skrynecki stressed that they believe maintaining a good relationship with the town’s immigrant community is important—although the supervisor noted that he has no intention of making Southampton a “sanctuary town” that refuses to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE.

“We are going to cooperate with the federal government, but we’re not going to do the federal government’s job,” Mr. Schneiderman said. “Our job is to keep people safe. If they are looking for someone who is a violent criminal, we will cooperate and assist. If someone is on administrative hold, we will inquire as to why and might hold them for an additional hour or two if there is a judicial warrant.”

Earlier this year President Donald Trump directed his administration to enforce the nation’s immigration laws more aggressively to locate, arrest and deport those in the country illegally, regardless of whether they have committed serious crimes, which has sparked concern throughout the country and on the East End of Long Island.

“Everybody is obviously concerned with changes on federal policy and how it will impact us,” said Mr. Skrynecki, who will formally take over as police chief on March 16, and has been serving as a consultant to the Town Police since January. “We want to continue to enjoy a strong relationship with the community—and that intel of people who are undocumented. We want them to feel free to be comfortable reporting a crime. It is very important to us to continue to maintain the level of cooperation and understanding.”

The longtime policy of the police department, according to Mr. Skrynecki, has been to cooperate with ICE agents as much as legally required. He said when officers encounter individuals in a routine circumstance—for instance, when giving a traffic ticket—it is Town Police policy not to inquire about their immigration status. In general, the town has declined to deputize its police force to help enforce federal immigration policy.

However, if a person is under arrest or is a suspect in a “very serious crime,” such as a robbery, rape or murder, Town Police will ask about that person’s immigration status as part of a standard investigative workup, Mr. Skrynecki said. Then, he said, police would inform ICE agents if there is a problem with that status.

The incoming chief noted that if Town Police receive a specific request from ICE to assist in an arrest, they would comply if there was a court-ordered warrant for the individual “in the interest of public safety.” However, he said the town would not take the lead on the investigation.

“We’re duty-bound to take action,” Mr. Skrynecki said. “We have no leeway—we must enforce the warrant.” He later noted that those types of requests from ICE are “infrequent” in Southampton Town.

Depending on the case, if Town Police receive a request from ICE to hold someone the department has arrested, he said, the town would ask ICE officers for details about why and would typically hold the person for only “a few hours,” not 48 hours, which is the maximum time they are federally allowed to be detained.

When asked what he would say to those in the immigrant community in Southampton Town, Mr. Skrynecki urged anyone who does not have legal status to pursue legalization “as fast as they can” and to maintain a clear criminal record, as ICE agents are considerably more active in picking up people with criminal records.

“We want them to understand that we cannot and will not condone unlawful activities,” he said. “It is first our job to enforce the law—and we will.”

Minerva Perez, a Sag Harbor resident and the executive director of Organización Latino Americana, said she is working to schedule a meeting with the supervisor and new police chief to discuss community concerns about the policy. Many residents asked at the last Town Board meeting for the board to make a public statement against Mr. Trump’s deportation policies to ease the concerns of illegal immigrants in the community. Ms. Perez said she sees continued meetings with the town as a step in the right direction.

“Any conversation is a good conversation,” she said. “There is an imperative here. People are really hurting—children are getting sick. They are not going to talk to the press, even with a fake name—even with a bag over their head—because they are so scared.”

The Reverend Stephen Grozio, a North Sea resident and part of the Spanish Apostolate at the Basilica of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary in Southampton Village, urged the Town Board at a February 28 meeting not to cooperate with ICE agents—noting he has seen fewer cars on the road recently out of fear.

“The Hispanic immigrant population here is a population that has three main values: family, faith and hard work,” Rev. Grozio told the Town Board. “… I know the people well, and I’ve never seen them so afraid as they are now … I ask the board members to stand with our hard workers, our families, our immigrant population, and not to in any way cooperate with the possibility of dividing families and of hurting our people.”

Lucius Ware, a longtime resident of Southampton and the president of the Eastern Long Island chapter of the NAACP, noted that the local, state and national NAACP stood behind the group of residents asking for the board to take action at the February meeting.

“Right now, I want it clearly known that we have not heard enough from this board,” he said. “These are the people that hire the police chief. The police chief does what you want him to do.”

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I love these generalizations of family, faith, and hard work to tug at heart strings. What about the MS13 gang members at CB's in Hampton Bays. Then didn't the guy break into a house with a sleeping woman? What about the stabbings in the Flanders nightclubs and prostitution. Great neighbor to have...Yes, there are hard working people. But they're not all immigrants, they're illegal aliens.
By lirider (288), Hampton Bays on Mar 8, 17 2:33 PM
Fear Fear Fear. Hate hate hate.
By Brigette (11), Amagansett on Mar 10, 17 1:27 PM
1 member liked this comment
If a different police agency has asked for a hold how long would you hold them? Why not ICE??? Are they not ILLEGAL?
Selective enforcement, what will happen to JR that ran into the house, selective???
By knitter (1903), Southampton on Mar 8, 17 3:57 PM
1 member liked this comment
Please stop using the term "undocumented immigrant" . They knowingly broke the law when they came here. Please stop the liberal PC crap. Fake News.
By fishy (92), East Hampton on Mar 8, 17 4:43 PM
1 member liked this comment
Really? A five year old kid who came here 12 years ago with his family "knowingly" broke the law? I don't think so.
By Brigette (11), Amagansett on Mar 10, 17 1:21 PM
Deportation is an administrative action. There is no warrant.
By Duckbornandraised (184), Eastport on Mar 8, 17 6:06 PM
Family, faith and hard work, along with driving with no license, driving with no insurance, drinking and driving with no license and no insurance, hit and run accidents, overcrowding in single family houses, stealing social security numbers, bar fights and stabbings, working off the books and sending the money out of the country.
By Babyboo (292), Hampton Bays on Mar 8, 17 7:07 PM
2 members liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Babyboo (292), Hampton Bays on Mar 8, 17 7:09 PM
Americans wake up you are footing the bill for illegals. The oath that Jay took days to uphold the laws of the land not laws he likes. Do your jobs!
By chief1 (2788), southampton on Mar 8, 17 8:37 PM
2 members liked this comment
What's so wrong with just enforcing the law? Isn't that a basic tenet of how a civilized society functions?
By BillWillConn3 (180), Southampton on Mar 8, 17 9:16 PM
Honestly, I think the problem is that there is a complicated web of laws that intersect on this issue. ICE is a federal agency that is constitutionally separate from local law enforcement (for important reasons) and all of those agencies run up against Fourth Amendment issues in dealing with potential undocumented individuals. How a local police force positions itself vis-a-vis ICE takes in all sorts of factors. Ultimately the "old-school" republican in me is very happy to see local police enforcement ...more
By Brigette (11), Amagansett on Mar 10, 17 1:58 PM
Are you talking about immigrants or fugitives? Immigrants came here legally.
By even flow (990), East Hampton on Mar 9, 17 3:10 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Mar 9, 17 7:50 AM
There was nothing wrong with my comment. Ms. Perez's background studying theaterr at NYU was in a previous 27east article. It was deleted rather quickly, I must say.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Mar 9, 17 8:07 AM
My question, agree with it or not but please don't delete it, is how is someone with Ms. Perez' background qualified to sit at a table that selected our new police chief? This is not personal against Ms. Perez. If it was because the Town Board wanted representation for the Latino Community, they should also have had representation from every other ethnic community otherwise it demonstrations discrimination on the part of the Town Board.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Mar 9, 17 9:27 AM
It seems that Ms. Perez is the executive director of Organización Latino Americana and she is there to discuss the concerns of Latin Americans living here. That is her qualification.
It is the Latino community that has questions, if 'every other ethnic group' had concerns about their community here I bet the town and Police would be open to hearing from them too.
This is not discrimination at all. Please get a grip.
By adlkjd923ilifmac.aladfksdurwp (741), southampton on Mar 9, 17 10:04 AM
2 members liked this comment
You are certainly entitled to your option and so am I.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Mar 9, 17 10:21 AM
auto correct - not option - should be opinion
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Mar 9, 17 10:37 AM
So then what is your opinion? Who exactly do you think is being discriminated against?
And if there is such discrimination why aren't the victims coming forward to let us know...They should really be thanking you for calling attention to their plight.
By adlkjd923ilifmac.aladfksdurwp (741), southampton on Mar 9, 17 10:42 AM
No actually, the definition of discrimination is any action FOR or AGAINST a group of people. Therefore, by only having OLA at the table, the Board discriminated FOR a particular group. People sometimes mistakenly call that "reverse discrimination".
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Mar 9, 17 11:04 AM
So everyone is being discriminated against except for east end Latin Americans who are being discriminated for?

Got it. I think this clears it up for everyone...You should plead your case then it sounds like you deserve some special treatment.
By dogfacejones (81), Southampton on Mar 9, 17 11:22 AM
1 member liked this comment
The action of discrimination FOR is by definition discrimination. I am sorry if you don't like that definition, but that is the definition. I don't have to "plead" my case to anyone. This will all be settled in the court of law, not in the court of public opinion.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Mar 9, 17 11:40 AM
Oh good, looking forward to hearing what the court has to say about this 'discrimination'.
By dogfacejones (81), Southampton on Mar 9, 17 12:51 PM
Me too - there - we found common ground.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Mar 9, 17 1:01 PM
When are you filing your lawsuit @HB_Proud, how can we follow along with the case? Interested in seeing this systematic discrimination revealed and hashed out in court.
By adlkjd923ilifmac.aladfksdurwp (741), southampton on Mar 10, 17 1:45 PM
I don't have to file a lawsuit. As long as those that take their oath of office seriously and follow the law are taking care of it for me. You and the rest are basically background noise in the court of public opinion - you are starting to sound like Charlie Brown's tacher.wah wah wahi
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Mar 10, 17 2:59 PM
At least Schneiderman knows where he stands. He also aligns with the Suffolk County policy of complete cooperation with the Feds. Cantwell, onthe other hand, as they say "couldnt get arrested". He issued a policy of no cooperation with Federal authorities and has implied his intent in making East Hampton a sanctuary Town. And, as typical in his past performance, has no clue what the financial impact is to the Town.
By pluff (59), East Hampton on Mar 9, 17 8:20 AM
1 member liked this comment
Jay, stand up. Stop the wishy washy political BS and tell us how you stand so we can vote at the next election.
By knitter (1903), Southampton on Mar 9, 17 12:12 PM
"I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic!!" Not too much grey area there...how about you uphold your oath to the people of Southampton!!!
By crboz812 (8), Quaker Hill on Mar 9, 17 2:34 PM
1 member liked this comment
The Democrats have been hijacked by insane, lazy , losers. The party of Roosevelt, and JFK is long gone.
By chief1 (2788), southampton on Mar 9, 17 2:43 PM
"Liar", by Henry Rollins Band

I will never to you lie again, please
Just give me one more chance
I will never lie to you again
No, I swear
I will never tell a lie
I will never tell a lie
No, no

Ha ha ha ha ha ha haa haa haa haaa
Oh, sucker
I am a liar
Yeah, I am a liar
Yeah I like it
I feel good
Ohhhh I am a liar
I lie
I lie
I lie
Oh, I lie
I'll lie again
And again
I'll ...more
By Mr. Z (11674), North Sea on Mar 9, 17 7:51 PM
1 member liked this comment
If you want to talk about being hijacked by insane losers, let me remind you - in the wake of International Women's Day - of something the President of the U.S. said not long ago:

"I did try and f*** her. She was married.
I moved on her like a b****, but I couldn't get there.
And she was married.
You know I'm automatically attracted to beautiful.
I just start kissing them. It's like a magnet. Just kiss.
I don't even wait. And when you're a star they let you do it.
You ...more
By SH_Res (342), Southampton on Mar 10, 17 1:02 PM
3 members liked this comment
By Ditch Bum (899), Water Mill on Mar 13, 17 8:29 AM
1 member liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Babyboo (292), Hampton Bays on Mar 10, 17 6:48 AM
Yeah, yeah, yeah Trump is the problem. Not the muslims sticking womans heads in acid, cutting off body parts, and mutilating others for the way they dress. Wake up and figure the out the real problem. If you have a man in your life I will bet your precious honey has said very similar things.
By chief1 (2788), southampton on Mar 10, 17 1:10 PM
Uh, what?
By SH_Res (342), Southampton on Mar 10, 17 1:16 PM
hahaha. Yeah that comment started off as just your standard low level racism until it jumped the shark completely into a whole new level of crazy.
By Brigette (11), Amagansett on Mar 10, 17 2:38 PM
1 member liked this comment
Everything he said is true,has happened and will continue to happen....How is that low level racism? Oh wait! You're one of those "if I don't like the truth I scream racism" sheep.
You're wearing a vagina hat aren't you?
By faceless2 (4), southampton on Mar 11, 17 5:27 PM
1 member liked this comment
Dont bother Chief1.... No one is going to understand until it's too late. It's much easier to complain about Trump being misogynistic while ignoring the misogyny and homophobia within Islam.
By Sturgis (605), Southampton on Mar 11, 17 7:52 AM
1 member liked this comment
There is plenty of misogyny and homophobia, among other awful things, 'within Christianity' as well, especially among fundamentalists. Do you hold this against the average Christian?

Also, Trump is the President of the U.S. He should be held to different standards than the average American. It's important to call him out on things that are completely unacceptable for someone in his position.
By SH_Res (342), Southampton on Mar 13, 17 9:17 AM
2 members liked this comment
Ah yes, the "go to" response liberals love to use when Islam is criticized. It's a little deeper than that. Islam is not just a "religion", it's a political system not compatible with the US Constitution, and it's supported by both "moderate" and "extreme' Muslims. I never said violence did not exist in other religions. For the most part Judaism and Christianity has evolved . The same can't be said about Islam. Facts are facts and the majority of terrorist attacks around the globe are perpetrated ...more
Mar 15, 17 12:03 PM appended by Sturgis
Not sure what happened to that last paragraph but you get the gist....
By Sturgis (605), Southampton on Mar 15, 17 12:03 PM
To report illegal aliens, people employing them or people harboring them, please call 1-866-DHS-2ICE (347-2423)
By faceless2 (4), southampton on Mar 11, 17 5:32 PM
Every group in tbis country wants, wants, wants. How about they start contributing, and cut the entitlement attitude.
By chief1 (2788), southampton on Mar 11, 17 6:46 PM
2 members liked this comment
Ice Ice Baby
Get the 5.0
By Qguy (27), quogue on Mar 12, 17 8:22 PM
If only the victims and / or their families could sue the "sanctuary cities" who release the violent illegal alien criminals to prey upon the populace. Drain the coffers of "sanctuary cities" & they will change their policies.
By They call me (2795), southampton on Mar 13, 17 8:34 AM
Sounds like BROKE california...
By knitter (1903), Southampton on Mar 13, 17 8:11 PM