U.S. Law Center

Bill tackles issue of immigration agents identifying as police

The current climate concerning immigration in the United States has left many immigrants who live in Orange County in fear of being deported from the country. The threat of removal is very real for some and immigrations agents appear to be taking advantage of that fact.

One practice, in particular, is proving to be rather controversial. Immigration enforcement agents from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, as well Border Patrol, having reportedly been identifying themselves as “police” when conducting searches for undocumented immigrants. A bill has now been introduced in Congress, which would prohibit such agents from wearing gear with the word “police” on it.

People on both sides acknowledge that the practice is not actually illegal. Rather, some see it as deceptive. Police agencies need immigrants to cooperate with authorities when it comes to reporting crimes and testifying in court to put criminals behind bars. Equating the term “police” with those whose job it is to apprehend people without the proper documentation greatly hinders that ability, proponents of the bill argue.

On the other hand, many people who immigrate to this country are not always fluent in the English language. “Police,” some contend, is a universally recognized term that alerts people to the fact that a person with governmental authority is at the door. Immigration agents are not able to enter a person’s home without permission or a warrant.

While the bill has support from some in the Democratic Party, it remains to be seen whether it will garner enough votes to pass. Those who are facing deportation may wish to contact an experienced attorney.

Source: The Los Angeles Times, “Congressional bill seeks to prohibit immigration officers from identifying themselves as ‘police’,” Carlos Lozano and Doug Smith, April 6, 2017

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