Advocates estimate that ICE moved dozens of individuals at the Orange County Jail in New York on Monday, and sent them to detention centers in Mississippi and elsewhere in New York, without prior notification to families or attorneys about the transfers.
Attorneys with the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project (NYIFUP) – a group of organizations that provide free legal representation for detained immigrants facing deportation – said they began to receive calls from detained immigrants worried about potentially being transferred last week.
In a statement, NYIFUP said they contacted U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement “multiple times” throughout last week to confirm information about potential transfers away from the Orange County facility. But ICE “denied specific transfer plans,” NYIFUP said.
In an email reviewed by Documented, an ICE official said last week that jail management staff had requested that ICE assist them “by drawing down the overall population in their facility to a lower level,” and that ICE was in the “planning stages” of that.
“ICE’s decision to transfer detained immigrant New Yorkers from the Orange County Correctional Facility to unknown locations outside of the NYC area, without any prior notice to detained people’s families or legal counsel, is reckless and unsafe,” NYIFUP said in a statement. The NYIFUP includes three public defender groups: The Bronx Defenders, The Legal Aid Society, and Brooklyn Defender Services.
In a statement, an ICE spokesperson said that on Monday, “a number of detainees” were transferred to ICE facilities in Mississippi and New York “as part of a facility-wide reduction in population affecting all agencies that use the facility.”