Ulster County Executive Issues Order to Protect Rights of All Residents

Posted June 26, 2019

County Executive Pat Ryan and Sheriff Juan Figueroa Outline New Procedures for Collecting Immigration Status, Handling ICE Warrants

KINGSTON, N.Y. – Joined by immigration advocates and religious leaders from throughout Ulster County, County Executive Pat Ryan and Sheriff Juan Figueroa announced new operating procedures that are designed to halt cooperation with federal immigration officials, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officers.

County Executive Ryan’s announcement came via his second Executive Order in office, which prohibits County employees under the Executive’s authority from gathering information about immigration status or sharing such information with ICE and CBP unless compelled to do so by law, or unless immigration status is relevant to the provision of County services.

In addition, the Executive Order directs employees not to comply with administrative warrants, which do not carry a judge’s signature and have become a common vehicle for ICE and CBP officers to bypass the right to due process afforded under the U.S. Constitution to all residents regardless of immigration status.

County Executive Ryan was joined at the signing by Sheriff Juan Figueroa, who announced that he has taken similar steps to direct employees of the Sheriff’s Office in their collection and dissemination of information about immigration status.

Ulster County Executive Patrick K. Ryan

“In response to escalating rhetoric from federal immigration officials, and in anticipation of mass deportation raids that are reminiscent of our nation’s darkest periods of xenophobia, I feel compelled to respond and to defend the values that make Ulster County so great,” said Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan. “We are a nation of immigrants, and here in Ulster County we recognize and appreciate the contributions that past waves of immigrants have made to the communities we call home. The current narrative coming from the White House seeks to put anger and fear in the driver’s seat when it comes to immigration, but in Ulster County, we know that compassion, respect and justice are the proper pathways to a stronger and healthier community. This Executive Order ensures that we all continue to uphold those values in order to ensure that all residents are treated equally and with the respect and legal protections they deserve, regardless of their immigration status.”

Ulster County Sheriff Juan Figueroa

“These orders are about due process and protecting the rights of people who are arrested or detained. Everybody has the right to go before a judge and jury,” said Sheriff Juan Figueroa. “I am a big supporter of the Constitution, and I represent the people of this County, not the interests of our federal immigration officials.”

Father Frank Alagna, Holy Cross/Santa Cruz Episcopal Church and Ulster Immigrant Defense Network

“To fail to respond when confronted with immoral and inhumane acts is to be complicit; to pretend it is not our problem is to deceive ourselves. The people of this County made a difference by electing Juan Figueroa as Sheriff and Pat Ryan as County Executive, and they are making a difference through the ICE non-cooperation policy that they announced today,” said Father Frank Alagna, Priest in Charge at Holy Cross/Santa Cruz Episcopal Church and one of the founding members of the Ulster Immigrant Defense Network. “I commend them both for their leadership, and thank them for having the courage to take action.”

Key provisions included in Executive Order No. 2-2019 are summarized below:

  • No officer or employee of any County Department shall inquire about an individual’s immigration status unless:
    • The immigration status of such individual is necessary to determine his or her eligibility for a program, benefit, or the provision of a service; or
    • The County officer or employee is required by law to inquire about such individual’s status. 
  • No officer or employee of any County Department, including law enforcement officers, shall disclose information to federal immigration authorities for the purpose of federal civil immigration enforcement, unless required by law. Notwithstanding such prohibition, this Order does not prohibit, or in any way restrict, any County employee from sending to, or receiving from, federal immigration authorities, information regarding the citizenship or immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of any individual, as required by law. 
  • Absent a lawfully issued judicial warrant, no officer or employee of any County Department shall provide ICE or CBP with access to an individual in their custody, or the use of office facilities to question or interview such individuals if ICE’s or CBP’s sole purpose is enforcement of federal immigration law.

Click here to view or download Executive Order No. 2-2019.


Featured Photo (above): Surrounded by immigration advocates and religious leaders, Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan shakes hands with Sheriff Juan Figueroa after signing Executive Order No. 2-2019.

Photo (below): Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan and Sheriff Juan Figueroa at the podium explaining steps to protect immigrant rights and resist cooperation with federal immigration policies.