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In July, the City Council endorsed a policy presented by the chair of the Human Rights Commission dealing with the City’s police, essentially providing that the City police would not give information to Federal immigration people except in limited circumstances.

The City Council endorsed this, a companion to sanctuary city legislation, on the grounds that it simply codifies existing practice.

Two things should be noted. First, if it simply codified existing practice, there was no need for it.

Second, while existing practice would not be binding on the City, by codifying the practice (or creating this practice), it created rights in anyone adversely affected by any error the City might make in what is now mandated as to what is permitted when dealing with the federal government on immigration issues.

In context, if prior to the codification an illegal immigrant were reported to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, in violation of historic practices, and deported, that individual would have had no complaint against the City.

By codifying (or creating) this practice and making it binding on the police, that same individual could now point to the codification and sue the City if the policy were violated.

While this is a black swan event and the likelihood of this happening is almost non-existent, in light of the fact that the potential liability could be astronomical — presumably the difference between what the deported individual could earn in the States and what he or she could earn in his/her native country over the course of their business life — Rye should review this policy.

Irrespective of whether this is merely codification of existing practice, there is clearly no benefit to Rye from this.

I do not believe the City Council focused on the liability issue at the time they adopted the proposal.

They should review it and terminate it post-haste.

— Howard G. Seitz


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