Suffolk changes policy on undocumented immigrant detentions in jails

There is a change in policy for undocumented immigrants in Long Island jails.



Suffolk County Sheriff Vincent DeMarco has instructed members of his department not to detain immigrant inmates solely because federal customs agents are asking them to. Now, the sheriff's office will only hold inmates if it receives a written warrant from the federal officials.



The previous policy had been in place since 2011, but County Executive Steve Bellone says the change will save taxpayers money.



Luba Cortes, of Amityville, says the change may make undocumented immigrants less fearful of deportation and more helpful to police.



Former Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy put the previous policy in place when he was in office. He says the change is akin to rolling out a welcome mat to illegal immigrants.



The Suffolk County Sheriff's Office says the change is due to recent federal court rulings and will shield county taxpayers from any potential liability in the future.



Nassau County adopted a similar change for those same reasons in June.


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