Levy Meets With Immigration Agency Ignoring Pleas of Immigrant Coalition for a Meeting

A coalition of groups representing the interests of immigrants on Long Island sent a letter late last week to County Executive Steve Levy requesting that he meet with them before conferring again with the federal immigration agents of the Department of Homeland Security. But Wednesday, January 12 without consulting the coalition Levy met with the federal agents.

Newsday reported on Thursday that

"Meeting with Suffolk officials Wednesday for the second time in a month, federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials agreed to provide Suffolk authorities with a 24-hour-a-day contact to help determine whether people arrested on felony charges are undocumented immigrants, Levy spokesman Ed Dumas said. ...... Nadia Marin-Molina of the Hempstead-based Workplace Project said that by checking on people's status before they are convicted of anything, people who committed no crime could end up in deportation proceedings. .... employers sometimes falsely accuse their immigrant employees of crimes.

Levy's latest plan comes after he dropped his idea of 'deputizing' Suffolk police officers, giving them the same powers as federal immigration agents. Levy said it could have helped crack down on undocumented immigrants who commit violent crimes and then flee after posting bail or serving time.

But the idea provoked an uproar among pro-immigrant groups, civil rights leaders and the Suffolk PBA, who said Levy was exaggerating the extent of the problem and pandering to anti-immigrant sentiment."

The immigrant support coalition includes the Long Island Immigrant Alliance, the American Friends Service Committee, the Long Island Chapter of the American Jewish Committee, the Workplace Project, the Farmingdale Citizens for Viable Solutions, Brookhaven Citizens for Peaceful Alternatives, the Unitarian Universalists of the South Fork Social Action Committee, the North Fork Hispanic Apostolate and several other groups.

The coalition wrote Levy that ".... proposals for increased county cooperation in immigration enforcement has caused great worry and confusion among Suffolk’s immigrants. .......... we believe that current County discussions with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) should be informed by the input of those in daily contact with the impacted community."

Some information above provided by Nadia Marin-Molina of the Workplace Project.