ICE Agents Fraudulently Identifying Themselves as NYPD to Evade Warrant Requirements
Recent reports indicate that certain officers with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have been fraudulently identifying themselves as New York Police Department (NYPD) officers or members of “narcotics squads,” and even actively lying to people, misinforming them that they are not ICE agents, in an attempt to get people to voluntarily let them into their residences and detain them on suspicion of being in the country illegally without warrants. ICE has responded that they are looking into these reports, while also implying that such actions are justifiable and legal because the word “police” is a “universally recognized symbol of law enforcement in most cultures” and ICE agents identifying themselves as such could be necessary, given that many of the people they interact with are not “native English speakers.”
Mayor Bill De Blasio has condemned the actions and formally requested that ICE instruct its officers to stop falsely identifying themselves as local police, while media reports indicate that the agency may be purposely targeting New York because New York City declared itself to be a sanctuary city and de Blasio’s administration balked at immigration subpoenas received seeking information about a number of New York inmates ICE sought to deport.
New York is not alone in experiencing this phenomenon, nor is this ICE’s first time using the tactic: The agents have also been doing so in other sanctuary cities like Los Angeles for years. As a result, it is crucial to know your rights regarding whether and under what circumstances federal authorities can falsely identify themselves in order to get around certain search and seizure requirements as part of their duties.
Know Your Rights: Do Not Consent & Open Your Door, Contact an Attorney Instead
ICE agents must have warrants signed by judges in order to enter residences. An administrative warrant of removal provided by immigration authorities does not constitute an official warrant allowing them to enter. They use the tactic of knocking on doors, identifying themselves as police, and indicating that they are simply “doing an investigation” because they do not have arrest or search warrants, and, as a result, cannot force their way into an individual’s home unless that individual provides their verbal consent to enter. Therefore, regardless of whether an individual claims that they are a police officer, a detective with a particular squad, an ICE agent, etc. (as the law allows them to do), without that warrant, you are not compelled to allow anyone in, and, in fact, it is best not to consent to that in case the individual is purposely misidentifying themselves in order to detain you on suspicion of being in the country illegally (or for any other reason) instead of seeking whatever they are claiming to seek. It is within your rights, and advisable, to indicate that you do not consent, and, instead, contact an attorney.
If You Need Help, Contact New York Defense & Civil Rights Attorney Phillip J. Murphy
If you live in New York and have been the victim of an illegal search and seizure or are simply facing any criminal charge, we can help. Contact experienced New York criminal defense attorney Phillip J. Murphy today for a free consultation to find out more.