In their duties of rounding up illegal aliens, federal agents have been photographed wearing jackets and vests sporting large letters that read, “POLICE ICE.”
Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers and agents (ICE) calling themselves police is nothing new, however, elected officials and activists in Los Angeles now say they want the practice to stop, according to a report from CNN.
The lawmakers claim that labeling ICE officers as “police” misleads people and is a danger to public safety.
Officials in Los Angeles are saying that referring to ICE agents as police “undercuts years of police efforts to build trust in immigrant communities and will make witnesses and victims less likely to come forward when crimes are committed.”
ICE spokeswoman Sarah Rodriguez disagreed, telling reporters, “It is the universally recognized term for law enforcement and our personnel routinely interact with individuals from around the world. In the often-dangerous law enforcement arena, being able to immediately identify yourself as law enforcement may be a life-or-death issue.”
In a letter last month, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, city attorney Mike Fuer, and city council president Herb Wesson wrote, “Especially in these turbulent and uncertain times, we urge that ICE agents operating in Los Angeles immediately stop representing that they are ‘police’ officers.
This 👏🏼 Worth a careful read pic.twitter.com/pzf89U8lSG
— Steve Soboroff (@SteveSoboroff) February 24, 2017
According to Rodriguez, the term “police” is an accurate portrayal of ICE officials. “It’s clear that we are a law enforcement agency,” she said, adding, “We have police authority.”
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