East New York

ICE reportedly targets city shelter for first time since Trump’s election

August 8, 2019 Kelly Mena
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Immigration enforcement agents appear to be changing their tactics in Brooklyn, reportedly targeting a city shelter — something city officials say has not been done since President Donald Trump took office. Late Tuesday night, ICE agents attempted to raid Win women’s shelter in East New York, according to a Win employee.

The agents attempted to enter the Win shelter using a photo of a person they were seeking to detain, but were denied access to the facility after they failed to provide a warrant, the New York Daily News reported.

“We will always fight for their rights and protect them, no matter the challenge — whether it’s past abusers, local threats, and even bullies like the President of the United States and his deportation force,” said Win President and CEO Christine C. Quinn in a statement to the Brooklyn Eagle.

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ICE denied that their agents were behind an attempted raid. Agency spokesperson Rachael Yong Yow told the Eagle on Thursday that no enforcement action by the agency was attempted at the Win shelter, but did note that agents conduct daily operations throughout New York City, Long Island and the Hudson Valley.

The head of security at Win, however, told the Daily News that eight people wearing ICE insignia were present on Tuesday night.

The reported raid was the first in East New York, coming on the heels of targeted ICE raids in Sunset Park and Midwood that began on July 13, and the first at a city shelter since Trump took office in 2016, according to city officials.

Nearly 40 percent of residents are foreign-born in Brooklyn Community District 5, which encompasses East New York and Cypress Hills, according to data from the New York City Planning Department.

The city’s Department of Homeless Services policy does not allow for enforcement officials to enter a facility without a warrant signed by a judge, according to department spokesperson Issac McGinn.

“We’ve reiterated our policies to our staff, providers, and partners, so they can lock arms, clarify clients rights, and reassure all those we serve that our city will protect their privacy and provide sanctuary,” McGinn told the Eagle.

The immigration status of those seeking access to city shelters is protected under New York City’s mayoral Executive Order 41, which bars city agency employees from disclosing information about citizenship status, among other things, unless the individual is suspected of “of engaging in illegal activity, other than mere status as an undocumented alien.”

Local immigrant advocate groups saw the reports of the botched raid as a promising sign of the city’s unity.

“The response by [Win] shelter staff when confronted by ICE agents who did not have a judicial warrant is an excellent example of effective protocol, and we laud their effort and success in protecting their residents,” said Joshua Goldfein, staff attorney for the Legal Aid Society’s Homeless Rights Project in a public statement.

Other organizations took the opportunity to denounce Trump’s ongoing anti-immigrant policies.

“Yesterday’s attempted raid at the Brooklyn shelter is part of the ongoing war on immigrants and some of the most vulnerable people in our communities … It’s sickening that this administration sanctions this kind of behavior,” said Steven Choi, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition.

Excluding Tuesday night’s incident, there have now been eight attempted raids across the city so far this year. Brooklyn has been the target of five of the raids, most of which have been concentrated in the southwestern Brooklyn neighborhood of Sunset Park.

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  1. James Mullaney

    This isn’t legitimate law enforcement. All this is is out-of-control men terrorizing the helpless and vulnerable with the power of the state to back them up. Such aggression and violence suggests a hormonal imbalance that ought to be chemically corrected.

  2. Was it a raid or not? A raid can’t happen without a warrant. ICE knows this. Especially with all the press coverage. So was it a raid or not? What is an “attempted raid”? Law enforcement agencies don’t “attempt” raids. They either have a warrant or they don’t. If they do, they don’t need anyone’s permission, if they don’t, they are not there to raid and they aren’t trying to trick anyone. Can you tell us more about the person they were seeking to detain. Was there a crime committed outside of immigration status? Do you have photos of the “attempted raid”? I can assure you that some readers, like myself, actually want a story that provides real information, rather than opinions or political agenda.