Gov. Andrew Cuomo has repeatedly demonstrated his penchant for actions that serve his political interests, but certainly not the people who live in New York. Today was no different.
In a press conference broadcast on YouTube and Twitter, Cuomo announced his plans to sue Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) – unless the agency immediately ended their “reckless and unconstitutional enforcement actions.”
Cuomo asserted his decision was a response to the “alarming rate of increase” of enforcement actions and the “manner in which [ICE] are performing arrests.” Using the suitably inflammatory term “raids,” Cuomo argued ICE was conducting itself in a way that “endangers public safety.”
To back up his claims, Cuomo was flanked by a farmer who had an employee detained, Gonzalo Mercado, executive director of La Colmena, a group that helps day laborers get work, and other anti-ICE organizations.
“I think it’s time a state stood up to ICE and made this case and let them know that people have rights,” Cuomo said.
In an ironic twist given the rigorous resistance of his administration to cooperating with federal law enforcement, Cuomo maintained ICE was placing individuals in danger because they were not notifying state and local police of their actions.
In addition to sending a “cease and desist” letter, the governor who is seeking re-election, also signed an executive order barring state agencies and officers from asking an individual about their immigration status unless required by law or while investigating illegal criminal activity. The order amends an existing executive order that prohibits ICE from making arrests in state facilities without a warrant.
After ranting about the so-called Muslim ban and DACA, Cuomo declared he would “pursue all available legal recourse and commit to doing everything in my power to protect the rights and safety of all New Yorkers” if ICE failed to comply with his demands.
If he were interested in New Yorkers’ safety, he should step away from the microphone and look at who ICE is taking off the streets of the Empire State.
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. And in neighboring New Jersey, of the 60 illegal immigrants detained in a similar enforcement action last week, 80 percent were convicted criminals.