July 11, 2019 10:42 PM
(ABC 6 News) - The City of Rochester, and its police department, said they do not, and will not, take part in deportation raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.
President Trump delayed major deportation efforts last month, but the White House has confirmed those raids will take place in the coming days.
In a joint statement, the Rochester Police Department and the city said they take pride “on being part of, and a champion of, a compassionate community.”
“Our role is simple: it’s public safety. It’s policing of all residents of our community, all those who live here, regardless of immigration status,” said Capt. John Sherwin.
It’s a message they felt was important to get out with federal raids in major cities expected to play out this weekend.
“When an issue such as immigration is brought up, obviously it’s something that is politically charged, it’s something that is disruptive, and leads to a lot of rumor and speculation,” Sherwin said.
“When we have these scare tactics, families really suffer, and people who have legitimate legal status will leave their employment, will pull their children out of schools because of the potential they’re swept up,” said Dee Sabol, executive director of the Diversity Council.
She said this causes economic issues, but public safety issues, too.
“If someone is a non-resident who’s victimized in a crime and they don’t want to call us because of that, that leads to more crime within our community,” Sherwin said.
The police department does not have any officers who deal with enforcing federal immigration laws, and as protocol, the department doesn’t collect data related to immigration status.
“When we talk policing at a local level, we’re talking about keeping every resident of Rochester safe,” Sherwin said.
Undocumented citizens who do have an interactions with I.C.E have rights: the right to remain silent, the right to speak to an attorney, and they only have to let agents into their homes if the agent has a warrant signed by a judge.
The Rochester Police Department and the City of Rochester released a joint statement regarding possible mass deportations by federal agents starting Sunday.
The statement reads in part, "The Rochester Police Department does not collect or maintain information related to the immigration status of residents and visitors. Also, we do not employ or assign officers to the enforcement of federal immigration laws."
Olmsted County Sheriff's Office also issued a statement saying they are, "not aware of any specific enforcement activity by the Federal government in our communities nor have we been informed of any immigration enforcement operation anywhere in Olmsted County. The Olmsted County Sheriff's Office law enforcement deputies do not engage in Federal immigration violation enforcement. We do enforce laws that support public safety in our communities."
A nationwide immigration enforcement operation was initially set for late June, but the President postponed it as Congress worked to pass a $4.6 billion border aid deal.
Now, a pair of administration officials and some immigrant activists are saying the operation is scheduled to begin this Sunday, July 14.
Click here for the full joint statement by RPD and the City of Rochester along with local resources and contact information.
Updated: July 11, 2019 10:42 PM
Created: July 11, 2019 11:22 AM
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