319 immigrant detainees at Albany Co. Jail

July 11, 2018 06:34 PM

ALBANY - It's a national story, part of which is playing out right here in the Capital Region, and hanging in the balance are the lives of more than 300 immigrants.

Those immigrants have been delivered to the Albany County Jail where they're playing a waiting game right now, uncertain of when the game will be over, or how it will end.

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They began arriving in the Capital Region by plane and by the bus load back on June 27, hundreds of immigrants scooped up by federal authorities, flown cross country, who are now detainees at the Albany County Jail.

"We're trying to make a difference in these people's lives," says Dan McCoy, the Albany County Executive.

McCoy isn't entirely pleased with the country's immigration policy that brought them here, but says every effort is being made to make sure they have lawyers and translators, and that they're being treated fairly.

"A lot of their records are elsewhere," McCoy points out, "If they're here, they're sealed, so they have to get through the red tape."

The red tape stretches across the country, where some of the detained immigrants have already had their cases resolved. Among 102 immigrant children under the age of five, the government had been trying to reunite families by Tuesday's deadline. As of Wednesday, it's estimated that 64 children were still separated for various reasons including parents with criminal records or incomplete verification.

"I have a solution," President Donald Trump proclaimed to reporters this week, "Tell people not to come to our country illegally."

In all, nearly 3,000 children of all ages are still in government custody, and apparently the heartbreak extends into the Capital Region.

"We're dealing with one woman, a grandmother, who came over (the border) with her 8-year old granddaughter who has full custody of the child and the child is out in California," McCoy says.

Next in the process for Albany detainees will be a "credible fear" interview. If detainees can convince a government arbiter they'd be in danger by returning to their home countries, they'd get to see a judge. And a judge would them determine whether or not to grant asylum and issue a green card.

Credible Fear Officials are expected to arrive in the Capital Region in the coming weeks.


Dan Levy

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