LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Los Angeles officials sent a letter to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency Thursday requesting that their agents stop posing as police officers.
The letter, addressed to ICE Deputy Field Office Director David Marin, cited a Los Angeles Times report that claimed ICE agents were identifying themselves as “police officers during the course of immigration investigations and enforcement.”
When L.A. residents hear the term “police,” the letter argued, they have been conditioned to presume they are dealing with Los Angeles Police Department officers.
“For ICE agents to represent themselves as police misleads the public into believing they are interacting with the LAPD.”
According to the L.A. Times, a video released by ICE showed an agent identifying himself to a deportee by saying, “Good morning, how you doing? I’m a police officer. We’re doing an investigation.”
“This is especially corrosive given that to advance public safety, LAPD does not initiate police action with the objective of determining a person’s immigration status,” the letter goes on to say.
It was signed by Mayor Eric Garcetti, City Attorney Mike Feuer and L.A. City Council President Herb Wesson.
“In sum, decades of experience by LAPD and City Attorney prosecutors demonstrate the city we serve will be less safe if any member of our large and diverse immigrant population is driven undergound, dissuaded from providing valuable information and cooperation because they fear contact with our own police force.”