"During a nationwide operation this month by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a team of ICE agents in Los Angeles approached the house of a man targeted for deportation.
“Good morning, police,” one agent announced in the pre-dawn darkness.
A man opened the door moments later.
“Good morning, how you doing? I’m a police officer. We’re doing an investigation,” the agent said.
The exchange, captured on a video released publicly by ICE, seemed routine. But it has reignited long-simmering objections from immigrant rights attorneys and advocates, who say the scene illustrates unethical — and in some cases, illegal — ruses ICE agents have used for years, portraying themselves as officers from local police departments to ensnare people or fool them into revealing the whereabouts of family members.
The use of the tactic, critics said, is particularly egregious in heavily immigrant cities such as Los Angeles and San Francisco, where police and elected officials have tried for decades to distinguish their cops from federal immigration agents, in an effort to convince immigrants living illegally in their cities that they can interact with local police without fear of deportation. The practice of using ruses predates the Trump administration. But the president’s announcement of his intent to dramatically increase the number of people ICE apprehends for deportation has increased concerns by immigrant advocates that the tactic will grow even more prevalent.
“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,” said Frances Miriam Kreimer, senior attorney at Dolores Street Community Services in San Francisco.
Kreimer is challenging the legality of a ruse ICE officers used to arrest a client, in which they told the man they were police officers investigating a crime.
'I’m not going to do it.' Police aren't eager to help Trump enforce immigration laws'I’m not going to do it.' Police aren't eager to help Trump enforce immigration laws"