After immigration agents tried to detain a woman in Hartford while identifying themselves as police, Connecticut’s congressional delegation is asking the government to end the practice altogether.

“When ICE agents enter communities with clothing and equipment that deceptively suggest they are local police, it erodes public trust in local law enforcement, makes it more difficult for local police to build relationships with the communities they serve and inserts a dangerous potential for confusion,” the members wrote to Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly last week.

In March, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents wearing vests that read “police” met a woman on Capitol Avenue and asked her to come to the police station lobby on High Street, presumably so they could take her into custody.

Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin and Hartford Police Chief James Rovella said the agents’ actions undermined the trust that local police have developed with the city’s thousands of undocumented immigrant residents. Hartford is a so-called “sanctuary city,” where local police don’t enforce federal immigration law.

ICE has defended the practice of its officers wearing clothing reading “police” or identifying themselves as police in the course of their duties, saying its a universally recognized term for law enforcement.


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