Rensselaer County sheriff renews federal program giving some deputies ICE powers

June 26, 2019 04:49 PM

Rensselaer County Sheriff Pat Russo is hearing from the public about his policies having to do with undocumented immigrants. He's been using a federal program to give some of his officers some of the powers of federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Sheriff Russo says the purpose of the meeting is to improve transparency, program direction, and to hear issues or concerns from the community. However, activists who are against the program aren't happy with the way it was set up.

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Sheriff Russo just renewed the 287(g) program, which allows two of his deputies to have the same power as federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers.

However, those deputies are only checking a potential illegal immigrant's status if they are brought into the Rensselaer County Jail for another offense.

Russo says last year, three arrests were made because of this program. He says his goal is to make the county safer, but some against the program argue it only heightens fear in immigrant communities.

Hear from both sides by watching the video of Emily Burkhard's story.


WNYT Staff

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