Furor Grows Over ICE Move to Nassau Hospital

Immigrant advocates protest against the plan to take ICE to the Nassau University Medical Center. (Photo by Benjamin Britton via Noticia LI)

[Nassau County Executive Laura Curran’s announcement on Tuesday that she will let ICE relocate to an unused building at the Nassau University Medical Center has continued to draw backlash from Long Island community and pro-immigrant groups. Below are excerpts from a story by El Diario’s Edwin Martinez.]

The announcement has put the Democratic politician on the spot and has generated protests among those who fear that locating ICE agents near one of the medical centers most visited by immigrants who live on Long Island will unleash a wave of fear that will prevent residents from seeking care.

(…) Elise Damas, of Long Island organization CARECEN, said the county executive’s decision is “absolutely horrendous,” and warned that it is contributing to generating panic.

“It is not the county executive’s responsibility to find a place for ICE and give them a space in a medical center where many immigrants go. It is a trigger for worry and fear for those seeking to access those services,” said the activist.

“[Curran] has allowed herself to be influenced by Trump and Nassau politicians who disagree with the decision of taking ICE out of the jail where they are currently operating,” she added. “Even though she has always shown absolute sympathy for immigrants, these actions are hugely discouraging.”

(…) María Hernández, a Salvadoran immigrant who moved to Nassau County more than 10 years ago, said she is fearful for the plan to put ‘La Migra’ in the hospital, and said such action would put at risk the life of one of her children, who is receiving treatment in the center.

“Knowing that these people are going to be right beside us, I will not want to show up with my children so they can catch and deport us. I would have to look for other doctors and my kid would be at risk,” said the worried mother. “What we want is for ‘La Migra’ to go away, and now it turns out they are going to be right there… It’s truly scary.”

In spite of the criticism, County Executive Curran defended her decision… and explained that the Nassau authorities will remain focused on fighting crime, not immigrants.


[Below are excerpts from a story by Noticia Long Island about a protest against Laura Curran’s decision at the Nassau County Legislature building in Mineola.]

At the Thursday press conference, Adelphi social worker Angela Papalia said: “We have concerns that women, children and families will not receive lifesaving care due to the fear that has arisen by the news that was released yesterday.”

(…) Melissa Figueroa, of the organization Long Island Immigrant Student Advocates (LIISA), said that the plan to open an ICE center on hospital grounds was “devastating news” for immigrant students.

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