New California Law Prohibits ICE Agents From Posing as Probation Officers

New California Law Prohibits ICE Agents From Posing as Probation Officers

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers detain a man during an operation in Escondido, Calif., on July 8, 2019. (Gregory Bull/AP Photo)

Rudy Blalock

Rudy Blalock

10/6/2023

Updated: 12/30/2023

Amid allegations of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers (ICE) targeting probationers, and arresting them in their homes, California has passed a new law that would specify such home searches are only permitted by probation or peace officers.
Senate Bill 852, authored by state Sen. Susan Rubio (D-Baldwin Park), clarifies previous law and states that ICE and Customs and Border Protection officers are not California peace officers, who have the authority to conduct probation checks.
“No one should be afraid to come forward when they are the victim of a crime because they have lost trust in law enforcement. But unfortunately, many immigrant communities are afraid to interact with law enforcement professionals because of deceptive actions by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents,” Ms. Rubio said in an Aug. 30 Assembly Floor analysis.
She said ICE agents have posed as probation officers as a tool to trick probationers into complying with randomized searches, which they must always comply with while on probation.
Ms. Rubio said such tactics have led to distrust from community members, which SB 852 seeks to address.
“It is wrong for ICE to deceive our immigrant communities. SB 852 will safeguard and protect the public’s trust in law enforcement by specifying that probation searches can only be conducted by probation officers or peace officers, putting a stop to ICE agents falsely identifying themselves as probation officers,” she wrote.
Supporters of the bill, including the American Civil Liberties Union California Action—a nonprofit social justice policy advocate in the state—said SB 852 clears up loopholes under state law which previously only specified such probation checks were authorized by law enforcement.
“ICE regularly exploits the ambiguity between ‘law enforcement’ and ‘peace officer’ in regard to probation in order to arrest probationers using methods that would be unconstitutional if used on non-probationers,” they wrote in the same analysis.
The organization said in Los Angeles, ICE has been responsible for at least 19,000 “at large” arrests between 2014 and 2021, with many occurring at residences.
In an emailed statement to The Epoch Times, an ICE spokesperson said the agency had no comment on the new law.
In terms of how officers make decisions on detaining someone, it depends on the case, according to the agency.
“Regardless of nationality, ICE makes custody determinations on a case-by-case basis, in accordance with U.S. law and U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) policy, considering the circumstances of each case,” the ICE official said.
The spokesperson stated Enforcement and Removal Operations are conducted in ways to protect the public from those who undermine the integrity of the country’s immigration laws.
“Entering the United States without authorization is a violation of federal law, and those who do so many be subject to administrative arrest, and in some cases, criminal prosecution,” the official wrote.
No opposition was received for the bill, which was approved by Gov. Gavin Newsom and chaptered by the Secretary of State on Sept. 22. The new law goes into effect Jan. 1.
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Rudy Blalock

Rudy Blalock

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Rudy Blalock is a Southern California-based daily news reporter for The Epoch Times. Originally from Michigan, he moved to California in 2017, and the sunshine and ocean have kept him here since. In his free time, he may be found underwater scuba diving, on top of a mountain hiking or snowboarding—or at home meditating, which helps fuel his active lifestyle.

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