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senate Bill S. 2151

Should ICE & CBP Officers Be Prohibited From Wearing Clothing With the Word 'Police'?

Argument in favor

Federal immigration officers aren’t police, so shouldn’t be allowed to identify themselves as such on their gear. This is especially important now in light of cases of ICE officers using the ruse of being police officers to gain entry to suspected unauthorized immigrants’ homes and subsequently arresting people who otherwise wouldn’t have let them in.

JimFossler's Opinion
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09/15/2019
Yes, ICE and Immigration should not be allowed to use Police on their uniforms. It is deceptive and they do not have the power of police, even though they try to make immigrants who do not know our laws think they have that ultimate power.
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jimK's Opinion
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09/16/2019
Yes, they are not ‘police’ and have apparently used the ‘police’ label to illegally impersonate police by so stating to enable improper, uninvited entry; to shotgun interrogate residents without any ‘probable cause’. This is illegal and is an improper use of their authority. They abused the ‘title’ on their uniform and must at least be held accountable for that. Remove the title.
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Kathi13's Opinion
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09/15/2019
Their assumed authority is false and anything legitimizing it needs to be removed.
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Argument opposed

ICE and CBP officers use “police” as a universal language for identifying themselves as law enforcement. This helps prevent confusion as to who they are, which is good for both the officers and the people they’re attempting to apprehend.

Elijah's Opinion
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09/16/2019
I swear these bills get stupider and stupider by the day. Their job is to enforce immigration law. They are technically police.
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Libertarian's Opinion
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09/15/2019
They are law enforcement. And yes, I am an immigrant.
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Raymond 's Opinion
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09/15/2019
All of you ideological liberals and Hate filled Leftists need to know. Ice and CBP are SWORN OFFICERS OF THE USA. You Idiots. Get some real knowledge before you start spouting off your Lunacy!!! This is STUPID. YOU PARTISAN HACK OF A POLITICIAN. How dare you politicize this!!! You are a disgusting human being. Cory Booker. What have you accomplished in your entire life???
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What is Senate Bill S. 2151?

This bill — the Combating Deceptive Immigration Enforcement Practices Act of 2019 — would prohibit Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) from wearing clothing displaying the word “police.”

Impact

Unauthorized immigrants; ICE; CBP; ICE officers; CBP agents; ICE officers’ gear; CBP agents’ gear; and federal immigration officers’ misidentification of themselves as police.

Cost of Senate Bill S. 2151

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthSen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), a candidate for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, introduced this bill to prohibit ICE and CBP officers from wearing clothing displaying the word “police”

“This administration continues to ruthlessly and cruelly inflict fear and panic on immigrant communities across this country. When ICE agents display the word “police” on their uniforms, they blur the line between local law enforcement and immigration agents and confuse immigrant communities. These misleading interactions erode trust between local law enforcement and the communities they’re supposed to protect, and make it less likely that immigrants will report a crime because they fear deportation. Local law enforcement officers are here to protect and serve, not arrest and deport. It’s important we make that distinction clear.”

Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-NY), who first introduced this bill in the House, says it’s needed to ensure federal immigration officials can’t misidentify as police

“When federal immigration officials misidentify as police, it creates distrust between immigrant communities and local law enforcement. This, in turn, means real crimes go unreported and witnesses are less likely to step forward, making all of us less safe. The legislation we’ve authored will prevent ICE and CBP from misleading immigrants into thinking they are local police officers and I’m pleased Senator Booker has joined me in this effort.” 

The New Jersey Urban Association supports this bill. Its president, Bridgeton Mayor Albert Kelly, says

“Local officials and municipal leaders have worked diligently to strengthen community relationships with police. When ICE officers’ uniforms mimic police it negatively affects this work. We need to ensure that our residents can determine the difference between ICE officers and police, therefore changing their uniforms is absolutely necessary.”

Therese R. Rodriguez, CEO of Apicha Community Health Centers, adds that blurring the line between ICE officers and police hurts the broader community

“The potential lack of distinction between ICE agents and the local police force creates confusion and distrust of local police not only among immigrants, but among our neighbors, the churches, and our schools. This fear and fracture in trust spills into every public institution—an effect that runs contrary to New York’s status as a sanctuary state. At Apicha Community Health Center, we see the result. We aim to provide all New Yorkers a safe space where they can get the health services they need. Currently, there are people who need our services who might be afraid to walk through our doors. We believe creating a clear distinction between local police and ICE agents will improve safety, trust, and unity.”

ICE-ERO says that ICE agents and officers may initially identify themselves as “police” during an encounter because that is the universally-recognized term for law enforcement. ICE-ERO says

“In the often dangerous law enforcement arena, being able to immediately identify yourself as law enforcement may be a life-or-death issue. However, ICE-issued uniforms and jackets also display ‘ICE’ to indicate the specific law enforcement agency being represented.”

In 2017, ICE spokeswoman Sarah Rodriguez also contended that it’s accurate to call ICE officers police because “It's clear that we are a law enforcement agency. We have police authority."

ICE officers’ training manuals and policy notices explicitly allow and encourage agents’ use of ruses, including declaring themselves as police. In 2017, ICE spokeswoman Virginia Kice declined to comment specifically on the use of ruses, but said that agents’ tactics “are consistent with their authorities under federal law and in accordance with the Constitution.”

The courts have long upheld police’s right to mislead suspects during investigations and interrogations, up to a point. However, legal questions around immigration agents’ use of ruses are more complicated. Because ICE agents generally don’t have search or arrest warrants when they try to detain someone on suspicion of being in the U.S. illegally, they can’t force their way into someone’s home and have to receive consent from an adult to enter. In a few cases in which ICE agents have used deception to gain entry and then arrested someone, lawyers have successfully argued that the ruses violated the Constitution’s protections.

Nancy Morawetz, a professor of clinical law and an immigration expert at NYU School of Law, says that although existing case law allows federal law enforcement agents to use ruses, she doesn’t believe it’s clearly legal for a federal officer to masquerade as a local one. She explains, “What ICE is doing is saying ‘Oh, it’s all the same question. If law enforcement can use ruses, then any ruse is an option.” However, she takes a different view: “There is a pretty strong argument, I think, that it is impersonating a police officer” — a felony charge in the state of New York. 

However, in an implicit rebuke of this legislation, which addresses this issue at the federal level, Moraetz believes that state and local governments and agencies are best-positioned to push back on ICE’s misrepresentation of officers. She says, “I think if local law enforcement protested to [the Department of Homeland Security], they would get results.”

This legislation doesn’t have any Senate cosponsors but has the support of a number of immigration advocacy groups. Its House companion, sponsored by Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-NY), has 22 Democratic House cosponsors. Neither bill has received a committee vote.

In the 115th Congress, this legislation had 23 Democratic House cosponsors and didn’t receive a committee vote. There was no Senate version of this bill last Congress.


Of NoteIn 2017, California Governor Jerry Brown (D) signed a bill, AB 1440, into law prohibiting ICE agents and CBP officers from identifying themselves as police. When Gov. Brown signed the bill, its author, California Assemblyman Ash Kalra (D-San Jose), said

“I am pleased that Gov. Brown has signed [this bill] into law, upholding the trust and faith our local law enforcement work to develop with local communities every day to provide for the public’s safety. Under the [Trump] administration, ICE and CBP are undertaking unprecedented and aggressive tactics to identify, monitor, and detain undocumented immigrants for deportation. This [law] sends a clear message – that in California, law enforcement officers are sworn to protect all residents, regardless of their immigration status… [A]s California and the rest of the nation enter into a new reality of aggressive and, at times, deceitful actions undertaken to enforce immigration actionsCalifornia must take any and all necessary actions to disassociate the actions of federal ICE agents with those of licensed state and local peace officers.”

The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights supported AB 1440. Its policy advocate, Christopher Sanchez, said, “To have ICE deceive our communities that they are police officers only creates greater mistrust between law enforcement and the immigrant community.”

According to the California Assembly when it considered AB 1440, ICE agents have claimed to be police officers in order to gain consent to enter people’s homes — a tactic that’s viewed as unethical, but within officers' powers. In 2017 the Los Angeles Times reported that iImmigrant rights attorneys and advocates argue that portraying themselves as police is a ruse ICE agents use to “ensnare people or fool them into revealing the whereabouts of family members.” 

In 2017, Frances Miriam Kreimer, senior attorney at Dolores Street Community Services in San Francisco, said, “There is something fundamentally unfair about ICE exploiting local and state policies that are trying to improve public safety by promoting immigrants’ trust in law enforcement.”


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Flickr)

AKA

Combating Deceptive Immigration Enforcement Practices Act of 2019

Official Title

A bill to amend section 287 of the Immigration and Nationality Act to prohibit immigration officers and agents of the Department of Homeland Security from wearing clothing or other items bearing the word "police".

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The house has not voted
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on the Judiciary
    IntroducedJuly 17th, 2019
    Yes, ICE and Immigration should not be allowed to use Police on their uniforms. It is deceptive and they do not have the power of police, even though they try to make immigrants who do not know our laws think they have that ultimate power.
    Like (120)
    Follow
    Share
    I swear these bills get stupider and stupider by the day. Their job is to enforce immigration law. They are technically police.
    Like (74)
    Follow
    Share
    Yes, they are not ‘police’ and have apparently used the ‘police’ label to illegally impersonate police by so stating to enable improper, uninvited entry; to shotgun interrogate residents without any ‘probable cause’. This is illegal and is an improper use of their authority. They abused the ‘title’ on their uniform and must at least be held accountable for that. Remove the title.
    Like (105)
    Follow
    Share
    Their assumed authority is false and anything legitimizing it needs to be removed.
    Like (66)
    Follow
    Share
    They are law enforcement. And yes, I am an immigrant.
    Like (49)
    Follow
    Share
    The use of “POLICE” is easily misused, especially in non-police actions. It simply should not be allowed.
    Like (42)
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    They are not police. They don’t have the powers of police or the appropriate training of police. The only federal level enforcement that have that kind of position are the US Marshals. US Marshals can wear uniforms that say police, but ICE ARE NOT POLICE!
    Like (37)
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    YUP! THOSE SS TROOPERS AIN’T POLICE!!!
    Like (36)
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    Yes. I’m trying to be helpful but if I wear a police uniform I’m breaking the law. So, anyone that’s not police and they are wearing a uniform with police on it is breaking the law by impersonating a police officer. Whether they are trying to be helpful or not it gives the wrong information to those dealing with them.
    Like (36)
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    Cory Booker is an idiot.
    Like (35)
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    All of you ideological liberals and Hate filled Leftists need to know. Ice and CBP are SWORN OFFICERS OF THE USA. You Idiots. Get some real knowledge before you start spouting off your Lunacy!!! This is STUPID. YOU PARTISAN HACK OF A POLITICIAN. How dare you politicize this!!! You are a disgusting human being. Cory Booker. What have you accomplished in your entire life???
    Like (32)
    Follow
    Share
    Federal immigration officers aren’t police, so shouldn’t be allowed to identify themselves as such on their gear. This is especially important now in light of cases of ICE officers using the ruse of being police officers to gain entry to suspected unauthorized immigrants’ homes and subsequently arresting people, often wrongfully.
    Like (29)
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    Share
    It is intentionally misleading to put "police" on the uniforms if ICE operatives.
    Like (28)
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    They are most certainly not police and should not wear clothing or anything else identifying them as such. Please rid us of this Trump and his gestapo.
    Like (25)
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    Yes, they are law enforcement, HOWEVER, they are not ordinary police officers. It is deceptive and is used to gain entry to homes of immigrants who live there. For example, TSA is law enforcement because they enforce the law, but they are not police officers partaking in normal cop duties.
    Like (22)
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    Maybe Intimidation Squad or Industrialized Military would be a better title. It is bad enough our police departments have gone into robo cop territory we don’t need ICE thugs called “police” too.
    Like (20)
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    Their uniforms should say Customs & Border Patrol, or Immigration & Customs Enforcement.
    Like (20)
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    If Congress is going to get into the weeds of the meaning of words, then I suggest they research what a republic form of government is.
    Like (18)
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    They are officers of law. No problem. More helpful!!
    Like (17)
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    NO. Is there something wrong with the title “Police”? They are needed.
    Like (17)
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