Westport PD reassures public ahead of nationwide ICE raids

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Charles Reed / Associated Press

WESTPORT — As a first-generation immigrant, Westport Police Chief Foti Koskinas said he’s sensitive to concerns of the community about federal immigration enforcement.

The Westport Police Department released a statement Thursday after receiving inquiries from community members about the department’s policies and participation in federal immigration procedures ahead of expected raids by members of Immigration and Customs Enforcement this weekend.

“The Westport Police Department is in no way affiliated with or actively participating in federal efforts at immigration enforcement,” said a statement from Lt. Anthony Prezioso.

The New York Times was first to report news of the raids, which are expected to last multiple days and include “collateral” deportations in which “authorities might detain immigrants who happened to be on the scene, even though they were not targets of the raids.”

The raids were initially expected to take place a few weeks earlier. After that, they were set to be delayed two weeks; this weekend marks three weeks since the raid were initially expected to happen.

Those targeted in the raids will be families who didn’t follow final orders of removal by judges, asking them to self-report to local ICE offices back in March to comply with the orders, according to CNN. The raids are expected to take place in Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, New Orleans and San Francisco.

“This department strictly adheres to and trains its officers on the Connecticut Trust Act, which clearly defines the circumstances and duration under which a prisoner in the custody of state or local police or corrections can be held solely on the basis of an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainer request,” Prezioso said.

The Connecticut Trust Act went into law on Jan. 1, 2014. Legislation was recently passed updating the act, further limiting the conditions, Prezioso said.

“The Westport Police Department recognizes and truly values the diversity of the community which we serve and seeks to foster an environment of trust in which victims of crime actively seek our assistance regardless of immigration status,” Prezioso said. “As has been set forth as a guiding principle in our mission statement, this agency will always treat all with the respect and dignity that they deserve.”