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Croton Issuing Statement Affirming Police's Immigration Policy

Mayor Greg Schmidt and the Croton Village Board will issue a statement putting in the writing the immigration policy of the police department.
Mayor Greg Schmidt and the Croton Village Board will issue a statement putting in the writing the immigration policy of the police department. Photo Credit: File

This story has been updated.

CROTON-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. -- It's been a longstanding practice in the Village Of Croton-on-Hudson that police officers do not ask someone's immigration status. Now the village board is putting that language into writing.

At Monday's Board of Trustees, the board will be issuing a statement affirming the police department's policy.

In a memo to the village board at a work session on March 20, Chief Anthony Tramaglini outlined the department's immigration policy.

"As municipal police officers, the department members are not authorized to detain or arrest a person based on their immigration status alone," Tramaglini said. "The department will cooperate with immigration authorities on detainers where this is a judicial criminal warrant or cases where there is probable cause there are criminal offenses involved."

The department is not authorized to stop, question or arrest an individual based on a civil immigration warrant, Tramaglini said.

Mayor Greg Schmidt said the board has reached out to members of the Hispanic community and they are on board with the statement.

"They reached out to us," Schmidt said. "They want to know they can report crimes and not be harrassed. I feel this statement addresses that. I feel very comfortable with the statement we're issuing.

The village will also reach out to representatives of the Hispanic community to see how relationships can be improved and to make them feel part of the Croton community.

Trustee Brian Pugh said it is necessary the village make clear what federal law enforcement can do and what local police departments can do.

"Local police should enforce state and local laws," Pugh said. "Federal immigration laws should be enforced by federal agencies. This is Federalism 101. I believe that's something that we can agree on regardless of views on national immigration policy."

Pugh said the village did not want to make any declaration of a sanctuary city, for fear of stigmatizing the immigrant population.

"We don't want to put a target on their back or make people think ICE will launch retaliatory raids on Croton," Pugh said. "We don't want to overpromise or give anyone a false sense of security."

Molly Greece has been pushing for the village to pass a resolution about its immigration policy, having been inspired after attending the Women's March in Washington D.C.

"Croton is a very diverse village," Greece said. "I have friends and neighbors born in Argentina, Italy, Jamaica, Colombia, Mexico, Poland, Albania, Russia, China, and Ecuador.  It's important that we all live with the same peace of mind no matter what our circumstances of arriving here.  I firmly believe it is wrong to deport people who want to be here and have been here for years."

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