ICE Rumors at Kings County Hospital are False, but Reflect Community Unease
Written by Max Hadler, Health Specialist, New York Immigration Coalition
There have been widespread rumors of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents patrolling inside Kings County Hospital this week. An extensive investigation has not uncovered any evidence of ICE agents operating inside the hospital. The following is a statement from New York Immigration Coalition Executive Director Steven Choi:
"We have worked with NYC Health + Hospitals, Kings County Hospital Center, and the Mayor's office to investigate alleged ICE raids inside the hospital. Based on a thorough review of evidence, we do not believe ICE has been present at Kings County Hospital Center this week. We strongly encourage anyone in New York who needs health care to seek it out, regardless of your immigration status. The position of NYC Health + Hospitals is clearly outlined in its Open Letter to Immigrant New Yorkers.
ICE has previously issued a memorandum that considers hospitals, schools, and places of worship to be sensitive locations at which immigration enforcement is not carried out. Regardless of whether ICE will continue to respect its own guidance, the heightened alert and sense of fear that generates these rumors is firmly rooted in the inhumane, illogical, and unjust raids and enforcement policies of the administration in Washington. As long as these policies exist, immigrant communities will suffer the uncertainty that comes with pervasive fear. We will continue to monitor reports of ICE appearances in these settings and to participate in dissemination of information. While we once again denounce these destructive policies, we strongly reaffirm the right of all New Yorkers to access health care and encourage all New Yorkers to seek the services they need."