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New Haven puts city employee on leave for flagging immigrant marriages

New Haven, CT
Molly Ingram
The New Haven Green.

A New Haven city employee has been placed on administrative leave for allegedly flagging marriage licenses involving a non-U.S. citizen to federal immigration services.

The employee, Patricia Clark, works in the Office of Vital Statistics. The office issues birth, marriage and death certificates.

Clark told her supervisor that she had flagged 73 marriages to federal immigration services between August and November. Officials say the number is likely higher.

According to Mayor Justin Elicker, her actions may have violated the Welcoming City Order, which he signed in 2020.

“The order states that no New Haven officer or city employee shall disclose confidential information except under certain circumstances,” Elicker said.

New Haven is a sanctuary city, meaning its employees are discouraged from reporting residents’ immigration status to federal authorities.

“New Haven is a welcoming city and for the four years that I have been mayor, I have countless times underscored that that is an important part of our values,” Elicker said. “Regardless of your immigration status, your documentation status, or any other characteristics, you are welcome here.”

An independent firm has been hired for the investigation.

Officials say the individuals whose marriages were flagged will be notified as soon as possible.

Molly is a reporter covering Connecticut. She also produces Long Story Short, a podcast exploring public policy issues across Connecticut.