Advocates, rights groups denounce Curran's decision to move ICE in Nassau

Posted: Updated:
EAST MEADOW -

Immigrant advocates and civil rights groups rallied Thursday morning to denounce Nassau County Executive Laura Curran's decision to move U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement officers from the county jail in East Meadow to the nearby Nassau University Medical Center property.

Last week, Curran announced the ICE agents would be removed from the jail property following a state court ruling against a Suffolk jail policy of holding individuals under federal warrants. The Nassau PBA strongly objected to the removal of the agents from the Nassau jail.

More than two dozen people packed a news conference Thursday inside the Nassau County Legislative Building.

"The fact is that entire communities will not go to the only community hospital that we have in this county for the fact they know ICE is there," says advocate Melissa Figueroa.

Curran proposed putting the ICE agents in an abandoned building, labeled "Z," in the middle of the NUMC campus. She says it's away from patients.

On Thursday afternoon, Curran responded to the critics of the hospital proposal. She says she received a phone call from ICE asking for the county's help in finding a new location. She had given ICE until Jan. 31 to get off jail property.

News 12 asked Curran how the move would work, since building Z appears to be uninhabitable. "That's an ICE matter," she said.

Thursday's rally came after President Donald Trump condemned the move during a meeting with conservative leaders at the White House.

"I see in Long Island they don't want ICE, the radical Democrats don't want ICE there because they're too good. They're doing too good a job," Trump said. "The really radical Democrats don't want them there because they don't want to do anything to disturb MS-13."

MORE: President Trump blasts 'radical Democrats' for pulling ICE from Nassau jail

Curran responded Wednesday by saying: "I was stunned that from the White House, the president of the United States was talking about what's happening in Nassau County on Day 33 of a government shutdown."

News 12 reached out to ICE and received an automatic reply saying all media representatives are not working during the government shutdown.

As for Suffolk, there's been a trailer that houses ICE agents on the county jail property for the past six months. A spokesman for the Suffolk Sheriff's Office, which has jurisdiction over the jail, says there are no current plans to change that.

UPDATE: 10:15 p.m. -- During News 12's "Ask the County Executive" special Thursday night, Curran said the ICE officers would actually be moving to a different building on the hospital property, designated "A." She called the situation "fluid" and said "the latest is building A."

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