MIDDLETOWN – Three agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement made a surprise visit to Middletown City Hall Wednesday morning and attempted to take a man into custody. The individual fought with the agents and escaped.
City Police, who were not notified of the enforcement action by three plainclothes agents, were informed by them when they responded for a report of an incident at City Hall, that the agents had gone there to investigate an administrative immigration detainer involving the man who was supposed to be in court on an unrelated manner.
The agents contacted the man and tried to take him into custody, but he fought with them with the altercation spilling to the first floor.
Police issued a statement late in the day, disavowing any knowledge of the federal enforcement action. “At no time was the City of Middletown Police Department, Middletown City Court or Middletown City Hall staff made aware of the investigation being conducted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and no assistance was requested from any personnel.
The investigation is also not connected in any way to the City of Middletown Municipal ID program.”
Police said the action “appears to be an independent enforcement action undertaken solely by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.”
US Representative Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18) has demanded clarification on U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) policy in a letter to the agency’s deputy director.
“Look, I get it – our ICE officials have a job to do – but there is a basic safety concern here for innocent bystanders who were headed to city hall to get their license or pay a traffic ticket,” said Rep. Maloney. “We’re going to get to the bottom of this – the officers’ actions may be a violation of agency protocol – and if it’s not, it probably should be.”