HARTFORD, CT – Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy sent Connecticut school superintendents and police chiefs guidelines Wednesday on how to handle the Trump administration’s pronouncements and orders regarding undocumented immigrants.
Malloy said the guidelines were in response to numerous concerns regarding the executive order from President Donald Trump on immigration matters and corresponding implementation memos from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
The Connecticut protocol for local officials came the day after the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced new immigration policies, making it easier to deport millions of undocumented immigrants, including people arrested for infractions such as traffic violations.
Any immigrant who is in the country illegally and is charged or convicted of any offense, or suspected of a crime, will now be an enforcement priority, according to memos signed by Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly.
“Putting all opinions about this presidential executive order aside, its enforcement is going to have a local impact, especially given the constrained resources and financial impact this will have on state and municipal budgets, which we already know are stretched to their limits, in addition to giving rise to serious concerns in affected communities,” Malloy said.
The Malloy administration is recommending that law enforcement should not take any action to solely enforce federal immigration law. It explained that Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainer requests are “requests” and not warrants or orders and should only be honored if they are accompanied by a judicial warrant.
The guidelines go on to recommend that law enforcement should not provide access to individuals who are in law enforcement custody to ICE. The guidelines go onto recommend that any ICE agent approaching a school for student information should be referred to the Superintendent’s office.
Malloy said the enforcement of the federal actions will likely result in a host of constituent concerns and legal questions that are thrust upon local communities. Ultimately, Malloy said, local law enforcement agencies determine whether, and to what extent within the parameters of the Connecticut Trust Act, they assist ICE.
“Above all, we are obligated protect the rights afforded to all our residents and ensure that students attend safe, welcoming schools,” Malloy said. “The best approach for local communities is to have a plan in place so that everyone in our state, including young students, are supported respectfully and fairly under the laws of our state and our nation.”
Carlos Moreno, spokesman for the Connecticut Immigrants Rights Alliance (CIRA) said the group “welcomes the governor’s response.” CIRA met with Malloy earlier this month to share their concerns about the Trump’s administration attitude toward immigrant communities.
Moreno said CIRA doesn’t have an up-to-date number of incidents involving immigration incidents since Trump took office, nor does it have a breakdown of which towns or cities have seen the biggest spike.
“But clearly the number of incidents are up,” Moreno said, estimating that they have “tripled” in recent months – or since Trump made cracking down on immigration a central part of his election campaign.
“There is a real fear in the communities,” Moreno said.
CIRA was just one of the groups applauding Malloy’s action.
“We are proud that Governor Malloy has taken a strong stance to protect all Connecticut residents,” Ana Maria Rivera-Forastieri, director of advocacy at Junta for Progressive Action said. “The message is loud and clear, the state of Connecticut will not allow the Trump administration’s racist and xenophobic actions to destroy our community.”
Activists in the state’s capital city, Hartford, also applauded the governor.
“The city of Hartford has a diverse immigrant population,” Alok Bhatt, a CIRA activist who lives in Hartford said. “We must continue to be a welcoming place and ensure that no individual, family, or community feels threatened in the city we call home.”
On Friday, immigrants and allies will attend a press conference with U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin, and other elected officials to denounce Trump’s executive orders on immigration.
“Right now, my parents and I are in danger of deportation, and my sister, who was born in this country, is in danger of being separated from us,” Eric Cruz Lopez, a UConn student and leader of CT Students for a Dream, said. “But this is my home, and I won’t be forced out.