Obama-Era Agreement Puts East Haven At Odds With Trump’s Deportation Agenda

Mar 22, 2017

East Haven, Connecticut, recently appeared on a federal list of cities and towns that have refused to work with immigration agents to deport undocumented residents. President Trump has threatened to withhold federal funds from those cities and towns. But East Haven is on the list because it’s obeying a federal order issued under President Barack Obama.

East Haven’s police department was put under tight federal scrutiny in 2012. The Justice Department said police officers had systematically discriminated against Latino residents. Part of the Department's ruling put limits on how police work with federal immigration authorities to detain or deport people.

Mike Lawlor is Governor Dannel Malloy’s criminal justice advisor and former longtime East Haven state representative. He says it’s ironic that East Haven has been placed on Trump’s list of uncooperative towns since it refuses to hold undocumented immigrants in order to be in compliance with a previous administration’s Justice Department.

“The reason they’re on that list is they’re under an order from the United States Federal Court. If the Department of Homeland Security intended to do something about it, presumably they’d have to explain that to a federal judge.”

Hartford, Connecticut, also appeared on the list. Hartford has declared itself a sanctuary city and says it won’t work with federal agents. Earlier this week, the city said immigration officers had passed themselves off as local police to try to detain an undocumented person.