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Rensselaer sheriff renews ICE agreement early

May 21, 2020 5:45 am
Rebecca Carballo is reporting for the Times Union the Rensselaer County’ Sheriff’s Office renewed its contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, allowing the county to continue to house detained immigrants in its jail. The renewal deadline was June 30, but Sheriff Patrick Russo let the Rensselaer County Legislature know this week that he had already committed the county to continue the controversial program until June 2021. The legislature immediately forwarded Russo's memo onto the New York Civil Liberties Union which criticized the sheriff for renewing the contract during a pandemic. “Doubling down and extending this agreement until June 2021 is a bad deal in the best of times, and an unfathomable decision during a pandemic where community resources and public trust are critical,” said Melanie Trimble, director of the Capital Region Chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union. "In the two years since Sheriff Russo made his deal with ICE, it is difficult to see what the county has gained, but the drain on local resources, public safety and immigrant families is multiplied by the current health crisis,” Trimble said. “Sheriff Russo can rescind this agreement at any time, and he should do so immediately.” Rensselaer County is the only county in New York that participates in the federal 287(g) program. Read the full story in the Times Union.