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NY Gov. Cuomo sends ICE cease-and-desist letter over 'unconstitutional, illegal behavior

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a cease-and-desist letter to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, demanding they stop conducting raids without warrants. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo sent a cease-and-desist letter to Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Wednesday, and threatened to sue the federal agency if it continued its aggressive immigration raids into the summer, according to The Washington Post.

“I understand the president is philosophically opposed to what we believe in New York, but I also believe the president is wrong,” Cuomo said during a news conference. “I believe he is wrong in his policy. I believe that’s not what America is all about, because immigration is not just the New York story. It is the American story.”

What’s the story?

ICE conducted a widespread immigration raid in New York that recently resulted in the arrest of 225 suspected illegal immigrants; 180 of those had either been convicted of crimes or had pending charges.

Cuomo and some New Yorkers affected by the raid claim some of the arrests were carried out on private property without warrants.

Cuomo was joined at the news conference by John Collins, a farmer who said ICE raided his property without a warrant; Gonzalo Mercado, an immigration activist who said ICE raided a private property looking for a specific person, but arrested other people when the intended target wasn’t there; and Alina Das, an immigration rights law professor who said her client was targeted due to his immigration activism.

In the news conference, Cuomo accused ICE of engaging in "unconstitutional, illegal behavior," that was "being fueled by the political rhetoric of the administration."

“The persistent failure of your agents to properly identify themselves or produce required documentation to conduct lawful searches and arrests is illegal and creates significant risk of harm to all New Yorkers, including law enforcement who have also been left unaware of your activities within the communities they are entrusted to protect,” Cuomo wrote in the cease-and-desist letter.

ICE responds to Cuomo

ICE Deputy Director Thomas D. Homan released a statement saying his agency would not be changing the way it operates, and accusing New York’s "sanctuary city" policies of making the job more dangerous and difficult for ICE agents.

“ICE cannot and will not cease and desist from fulfilling our agency’s congressionally mandated mission of enforcing federal law,” Homan wrote.

Homan responded to two of the accusations Cuomo made, saying the man arrested on Collins’ farm was a three-time prior deportee with a felony assault conviction, and that the man allegedly targeted for his activism was also a convicted felon.

One last thing…
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