If a bill sponsored by U.S. Sen. Cory Booker became law, ICE agents would not be able to have the word "police" on their uniforms.

New Jersey's junior senator and presidential candidate said that the word "police" blurs the line between local law enforcement and immigration agents, which causes confusion in immigrant communities.

“These misleading interactions erode trust between local law enforcement and the communities they’re supposed to protect, and make it less likely that immigrants will report a crime because they fear deportation," he said. "Local law enforcement officers are here to protect and serve, not arrest and deport. It’s important we make that distinction clear."

Booker was also concerned because he believes the confusion could result in agents being allowed inside a home without a warrant.

The bill, called the "Combating Deceptive Immigration Enforcement Practices Act," is the Senate companion to legislation first introduced in the House by U.S. Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez, D-Calif.

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka is a supporter of the measure, which he says will help draw a distinction between local police and "the federal officers enforcing the Trump administration’s extreme immigration agenda."

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill in 2017 that prohibited ICE agents and border patrol officers from identifying themselves as police, according to Courthouse News Service. 

ICE-ERO said that as a standard practice, ICE agents and officers may initially identify themselves as “police” during an encounter because it is the universally recognized term for law enforcement and our personnel routinely interact with individuals from around the world.

"In the often dangerous law enforcement arena, being able to immediately identify yourself as law enforcement may be a life-or-death issue. However, ICE-issued uniforms and jackets also display “ICE” to indicate the specific law enforcement agency being represented," ICE-ERO said.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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