NUMC Is New Home For ICE Agents

ICE agents will move from the trailer at Nassau County Correctional Center to an unused building next door on the NUMC campus. (Photo by Kimberly Dijkstra)

The Nassau University Medical Center (NUMC) in East Meadow will be the new home for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers. Recently, Nassau County Executive Lauren Curran had the agents removed from county’s correctional center property also in that village. The new move, county officials said, “is part of a comprehensive strategy from Nassau law enforcement officials to strengthen trust built with immigrant communities while complying with the law.”

“While the county believes the trailer is not the best location for ICE given the above concerns, County Executive Curran and Commissioner Ryder nonetheless want ICE to perform the important function of removing and deporting criminal aliens who participate in illegal gang and gang-related activities from our communities. As such, the county has identified a new office space for ICE on the NUMC campus, adjacent to the correctional center. The new ICE location is a building that stands alone and is entirely separate and apart from the hospital. This effort will benefit every member of our society and will allow the county will continue its long-standing effort to assist federal law enforcement in this regard.”

The decision to move ICE agents from the trailer at the correctional center was opposed by the Nassau County Police Benevolent Association (PBA).

“This appears to be a political decision, not a decision made for public safety. There is no reason to take ICE off the [correctional center) premises,” said James McDermott, president of the PBA. He compared the move to taking a “cog off of a machine.”

“Next time we might not be so lucky,” McDermott continued. “We might lose a police officers or an agent because we’re not going to be receiving information because the officers are not here on the premises to interview gang members and get the information we need.”

Responding to the decision to relocate ICE officers, McDermott later told the media that Curran had thought things over and “reversed course,” adding that the PBA still preferred the correctional center trailer due to the security mechanism on the those premises.

Curran also disputed McDermott’s charges claiming that the relocation is part of a “comprehensive strategy” to “strengthen trust built with immigrant communities while complying with the law.” The county executive added that she a talk with Thomas Decker, ICE field officer director to “reaffirm mutual and unwavering commitment to preserve the safety and security of all of Nassau County’s residents.”

“Nassau County is the safest large county in the state thanks to Commissioner [Thomas] Ryder’s commitment to building trust, not fear with communities most affected by crime,” Curran said. “Director Decker was informed that we have identified an alternative space outside the county jail that will allow Nassau County to continue its work with federal law enforcement to crack down on and deport criminal gang members, while still preserving trust with immigrant communities and complying with the law. This decision is an opportunity to make clear to our immigrant communities that Nassau PD is not focused on deportation and that all of our residents should feel safe reporting crimes to the police.”

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Joe Scotchie
Joe Scotchie is the editor of both The Roslyn News and New Hyde Park Illustrated News. In 2009, he won a New York State Press Association award for a sports feature. Joseph Scotchie’s past publications include biographies of Thomas Wolfe and Richard Weaver and a comprehensive history of the city of Asheville, North Carolina.

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