East Hampton Village Mayor Paul F. Rickenbach Jr. echoed announcements by the East Hampton and Southampton Town governments in stating that the village government will not allow or authorize its personnel to become federal deputies in order to carry out immigration enforcement activities.
In a statement issued on Friday the mayor said that no such overture has formally been made to the village, nor did he anticipate the request. "Should that instance occur," however, "village government will not allow or authorize that our sworn police personnel become federal deputies," he said.
The statement was issued amidst a backdrop of fear among undocumented immigrants on the South Fork and across the country, as federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents enact the Trump administration's plan to arrest and deport undocumented immigrants. The New York Times reported on Saturday that ICE officers are "newly emboldened, newly empowered, and already getting to work." Earlier this month, an investigation in which ICE officials searched for a repeat felony offender in the Town of East Hampton sparked rumors and fear of a sweep to round up undocumented residents.
"Historically our Police Department has worked in concert with the Department of Homeland Security — ICE — when and where a specific criminal investigation is ongoing and ICE requests assistance from our Police Department," the mayor said. "That has and will continue unabated. The distinction arises with respect to potential of deputizing members of our Police Department to enforce federal statute germane to immigration law."
"We are a nation of law and inclusiveness," the statement concluded. "Let this moment clearly define the majesty of what our country and nation stand for."