HUDSON — A second meeting scheduled Friday between Hudson leaders and a local immigrants’ rights group over Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s presence in the city last week will be open to the public.
The meeting between leaders of the Columbia County Sanctuary Movement will be held Friday at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 520 Warren St.
On March 5, three ICE agents attempted to detain two men in a car stopped near the corner of Fifth and Warren streets at about 9 a.m. in Hudson.
But the driver and several other citizens at the scene prevented agents from entering the vehicle or detaining the men based on a civil immigration warrant. The warrant was not a judicial document, so the men did not comply.
ICE agents backed off and left 10 minutes later without making any arrests after residents showed up and questioned the warrants.
The incident has raised concerns about the Hudson Police Department’s role in ICE arrests after two officers were sent to the scene to ensure public safety as ICE attempted to make the arrest. The Columbia County Sanctuary Movement has said the police “collaborated” with ICE officials.
Members of the Columbia County Sanctuary Movement said they did not feel their concerns were heard after a closed-door meeting with Mayor Rick Rector and city Police Chief L. Edward Moore on Friday.
“We are just facing a wall,” said Gloria Martinez, co-founder of Columbia County Sanctuary Movement. “And that’s a big issue for us in the community and we’re very concerned. We don’t feel like we are being heard.”
City officials decided to open the meeting to the public after a discussion at Monday’s Common Council meeting held at City Hall.
“The problem is if our only person to address is the mayor, that means a closed door meeting,” Columbia County Sanctuary Movement Executive Director Bryan MacCormack said. “It doesn’t mean that we can have a forum here. Where does the community get to be involved in this conversation?”
Rector agreed to open the doors to the public.
“I do not object to public meetings,” Rector said.
Rector was one of the Common Council members who voted for the 2017 resolution that established Hudson as a Welcoming and Inclusive City.
“I will continue to uphold the resolution, in addition to making sure the citizens and the visitors to Hudson are safe and protected,” Rector said. “If somebody did something wrong, including myself, it is my commitment that we will fix it.”
Among the concerns MacCormack wants to address at the next meeting is that the two individuals that ICE attempted to detain did not have a translator assisting them when they were initially arrested by Hudson police.
MacCormack was also concerned about the availability of Hudson police reports to the Mayor and Common Council regarding ICE activity. The reports are typically kept confidential to protect the integrity of ongoing federal investigations.
“The reports surrounding ICE encounters are confidential reports,” MacCormack said. “There is nowhere in the order where these have to be confidential reports.”
First Ward Alderman Kamal Johnson said he was concerned about Hudson police asking post-arrest for citizenship status, which he said contradicted the Welcoming and Inclusive City resolution.
Hudson police are not permitted to question, arrest or detain an individual based solely on an actual or suspected immigration or citizenship status, according to the Welcoming and Inclusive City resolution.
Police also cannot inquire about an individual’s immigration status if they are a witness, crime victim or person approaching the police for assistance, according to the resolution.
But police question defendants about their immigration status post-arrest, and that does not violate the resolution, Chief L. Edward Moore said.
“Our questioning is post-arrest,” Moore said March 6. “We don’t make random street inquiries or make inquiries about witnesses or victims.”
Majority Leader Tiffany Garriga took the opportunity to address a person who sent her an anonymous email in response to the ICE incident. Garriga was one of the people who questioned ICE at the scene of the attempted arrest and asked to see a judicial warrant.
“The City of Hudson is a welcoming and inclusive city and anytime our neighbors are under attack, we will stand for them,” Garriga said. “ICE has no place in our city. You can keep your threatening emails. It does not scare me.”
To reach reporter Amanda Purcell, call 518-828-1616 ext. 2500, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or tweet to @amandajpurcell.