New York AG Letitia James selects as special adviser an attorney who wants to 'prosecute ICE'

Zephyr Teachout, who unsuccessfully ran for attorney general in 2018, will advise James on matters of economic justice

Updated: January 26, 2022 - 10:27am

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New York Democrat Attorney General Letitia James has appointed a senior counsel who has spoken about her desire to use the state office to "prosecute" and "abolish" Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Zephyr Teachout announced that she would be taking a "leave of absence from Fordham Law School to work for the great New York state attorney general @TishJames asa a special adviser and senior counsel for economic justice."

Teachout, who briefly launched a campaign for attorney general last year prior to dropping out and endorsing James, assumes her position as the state legislature considers a number of bills that would prohibit state law enforcement officers from working with ICE. Additionally, the New York City council passed a law in December that will allow noncitizens to vote in municipal elections.

In a video from her unsuccessful run for AG, Teachout spoke out against both ICE and CBP. " think it's critical that law enforcement speak out and say [ICE] is a tool of cruelty, unconstitutional behavior, illegality. I will prosecute ICE for their criminal acts," she said.

Teachout claims the agency was "born in xenophobia in the time after 9/11, and has grown up to become a tool of fear and illegality."

The attorney also campaigned on a call to end arrests for low-level crimes, arguing that the state should be focused on investigating financial crimes. "The wrong people are in jail. We have to end mass incarceration and return our focus to white collar crime," Teachout said at the time.