Thompson Calls on ICE to Remove "POLICE" from Jackets and Vests
Washington - Today, Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-05) led a group of 41 lawmakers in urging the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to cease displaying the word "Police" on jackets and vests during enforcement operations.
"This is a matter of public safety," said Thompson. "Suggesting ICE officers are members of local law enforcement undermines the relationships immigrant communities have established with police departments. Crimes may go unreported because victims fear they or their loved ones could be reported to immigration officials. Witnesses may not come forward for fear of being reported. This weakens public safety, and undercuts local law enforcement."
Thompson led this initiative after representatives from local police and sheriff's departments voiced their concerns about ICE's practices.
The full text of the letter can be found here and below:
The Honorable John F. Kelly
Secretary of Homeland Security
Washington, D.C. 20528
Dear Secretary Kelly:
We are writing regarding the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) practice of displaying the word “Police” on jackets and vests during immigration enforcement operations. Local law enforcement in our Congressional districts have expressed serious concerns that this practice causes confusion and undermines their officers’ efforts to build trust in our immigrant communities. We respectfully urge you to direct ICE to remove the word “Police” from all ICE gear.
Other federal agencies, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigations, simply display the agency name or abbreviation on gear without adding “Police.” However, pictures currently posted to the ICE website demonstrate that ICE does not follow this common practice – vests and jackets worn by ICE officers display the word “POLICE” in capital letters above “ICE.”
This is a public safety issue. Undermining the relationships law local enforcement has built with immigrant communities prevents them from effectively policing. Crimes may go unreported because victims fear their immigration status may be reported to immigration officials. Witnesses may not come forward out of fear of being deported. This weakens public safety and undercuts local law enforcement.
We urge you to direct ICE to immediately remove the word “Police” from all ICE gear. Thank you for your attention in this matter.