Betsy McCaughey, a former lieutenant governor of New York, doesn’t believe New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has “a constitutional leg to stand on” after the Democrat sent a “cease and desist” letter to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
However, Cynthia Nixon, who is running against Cuomo for the New York Democratic Party’s gubernatorial nomination, doesn’t think the governor is going far enough.
Cuomo wants federal immigration agents to check with local police in the state of New York before they conduct any more immigration raids like the one done at an upstate farm in April.
During that raid, Cuomo said Marcial DeLeon-Aguilar’s children had to watch their father, deported three times already and convicted of felony aggravated assault, being arrested by ICE, while they waited for a school bus.
Cuomo said the owner of the farm where DeLeon-Aguilar worked was pushed to the ground and handcuffed when he tried to find out what was happening.
“Nice try, governor. What about families victimized by violent illegal immigrants?” McCaughey wrote.
The raid that picked up DeLeon-Aguilar, who was wrestled to the ground when he reportedly tried to escape, was only one of a series of immigration raids in April.
ICE agents arrested 225 people during a series of raids in New York City, Long Island and the Hudson Valley over six days in April, according to a statement from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
“Of those arrested, more than 180 were convicted criminals or had criminal charges pending,” a statement from Thomas R. Decker, field office director for ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations, read.
More than 80 of those arrested had either ignored a final order to leave the U.S. or had come back into the country after already being deported, the ICE statement also said.
“Several had prior felony convictions for serious or violent offenses, such as child sex crimes, weapons charges, and assault, or had past convictions for significant or multiple misdemeanors,” the statement added.
Cuomo threatened April 25 to sue U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for what he claimed were “reckless and unconstitutional” raids that led to the arrests of illegal immigrants in New York State.
“The tactics deployed by agents under your leadership,” Cuomo wrote in a “cease and desist” letter addressed to Acting ICE Director Thomas Homan, “have become increasingly reckless and reflect a serious disregard for the rule of law.”
“I cannot tolerate the blatant disrespect for our laws that agents in your employ continue to display,” Cuomo added.
Cuomo also said that if ICE arrested every illegal immigrant working on New York farms, the state’s agricultural industry production would be cut by more than $1.37 billion.
“The raids on New York farms and the arrests of our workers have left many farm families fearful and angry,” said Richard Ball, New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets commissioner.
“What is happening today has not only shaken the agricultural community, but these actions also have a real potential to impact our agricultural economy with the loss of farms, jobs, and production,” Ball added.
Cynthia Nixon, running for the New York Democratic Party’s gubernatorial nomination, said Cuomo’s letter and executive order amounted to little more than “fiery rhetoric” that did little to help illegal immigrants.
“These attacks on immigrants by Donald Trump’s ICE agents don’t reflect American values, and they don’t reflect New York’s values,” Nixon said.
Nixon said Cuomo should order the state’s Department of Corrections to stop sharing fingerprint data with ICE, stop honoring detainer requests from ICE and order the New York Department of Motor Vehicles to refuse to share biographical information like street addresses.
But Homan told Fox News that politicians like Cuomo and Nixon who have embraced the sanctuary city concept that gives safe haven to felons leave ICE with no alternative.
“Many of these arrests were conducted at large in the community, which ICE is increasingly forced to do due to sanctuary policies in the state that prevent us from taking custody of criminal aliens in the secure confines of a jail,” Homan went on. “[Cuomo] supports these policies at the expense of the safety of the very same communities he took an oath to protect.”
Cuomo also signed an executive order that would block the arrest of any illegal immigrants in state buildings without a warrant.
Cuomo vowed to do more than stop the arrests of people in the U.S. illegally. The week before his “cease and desist” letter coupled with an executive order, Cuomo announced plans to pump $10 million more in state taxpayer money into a legal defense fund for illegal immigrants who are arrested.
“ICE’s hyper-aggressive raids on hardworking New Yorkers are immoral and un-New York, and we stand more determined than ever to support the rights of all immigrants in the Empire State through our nation-leading legal defense funds,” Cuomo said.
Cuomo accused President Trump of driving ICE to crack down harder on illegal immigrants as part of White House immigration policy.
“I understand the president philosophically is opposed to what we believe in New York, but I also believe the president is wrong. I believe he is wrong in his policy I believe that’s not what America is all about,” Cuomo said in a statement.
“I believe his heated rhetoric is now driving abusive practices like the abusive practices we see at ICE,” Cuomo added.
McCaughey accused Cuomo of doing nothing but “mimicking California Democrats who are in open rebellion against federal law enforcement.”
“Political pandering is driving this agenda. An amazing 27 percent of California’s population are immigrants,” McCaughey wrote. “New York is moving in the same direction, with 23 percent of its population foreign-born and Democrats gaining increasing control of state government.”