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ICE Tactics Questioned in Nassau County

El Diario-La Prensa, Posted: Oct 04, 2007

NASSAU COUNTY, NY -- Police and civil authorities in Nassau County, New York called for a federal investigation into the methods used by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents during the raids carried out on September 24 and 26, reports El Diario-La Prensa. During the raids, which were supposedly directed at apprehending gang members, 186 people were detained throughout the county.

Police Commissioner Lawrence W. Mulvey says that ICE solicited the cooperation of Nassau County police in carrying out the operations. According to Commissioner Mulvey, however, the raids were disorganized and suffered from many tactical errors which endangered officers lives. Mulvey also asserts that gang membership was used as a pretext to indiscriminately detain people. Mulvey declared that his officers will not cooperate with ICE until immigration authorities provide a satisfactory explanation. The ICE special agent in charge of the operations dismisses these accusations.

In response to the incident, Nassau Count Executive Thomas Suozzi sent a letter to Michael Chertoff, detailing the ICE agents abuses and lack of professionalism. According to Suozzi, ICEs lack of current information led agents to wrongly enter many homes, leaving broken doors and glass. ICEs bad practices, emphasized Suozzi, endanger the communitys confidence in the Nassau police. Suozzi also criticized the cowboy mentality of the ICE agents, who wore cowboy hats and used disproportionate weapons such as submachine guns. Suozzi and Mulvey noted that Border Patrol agents, who are not trained in this type of operation, participated in the raids.

Carlos Canales, a community organizer with the Centro de Derechos Laborales, asserts that even when the person whom the agents were looking for was not at home, ICE arrested those leaving the house without asking them about their immigration status. Canales commented that the Nassau police will have to work very hard to regain the communitys trust.

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