Community protests after allegations surface of ICE agents posing as police

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago residents and immigrant organizations gathered outside a church on the Southeast Side Thursday, accusing officers with Immigration and Customs Enforcement of using deceptive tactics to target Latinos for deportation.

Rosa, who chose not to disclose her family's name, said she doesn't know how she and her eight children are going to survive after her husband was arrested by immigration agents she said were masquerading as police officers.

Rosa said her husband has remained in custody for the last month and a half. She's surviving on the kindness of friends, but it's been difficult. She said she has diabetes and her youngest son is also ill.

"We didn't have any money to buy food because my husband is the one who supports our family," said Rosa.

Rosa said the incident happened in July as her 48-year-old husband Gerardo stopped at a grocery store to get breakfast before heading to his construction job. That's when she said he was pulled over along 91st Street by officers he thought were police. When he couldn't produce a driver's license, he was arrested and eventually detained for deportation.

"NIJC is currently representing three individuals who were taken into custody in this neighborhood after interacting with ICE officers whom they believed were members of the Chicago Police Department," said Kate Ramos of the National Immigrant Justice Center.

The neighborhood is part of the 10th Ward and has a large Latino population.

According to the NIJC, the area has seen some of the highest rates of immigration arrests and detentions in the city, and involve ICE officers wearing vests that say "police" who question the individuals they stop about their immigration status.

"From his travel ban to terminating DACA, President Trump's cloak and dagger raids have one goal: intimidation," said Congresswoman Robin Kelly.

An ICE spokesperson said ICE-issued uniforms and jackets display "ICE" to indicate their specific agency.

"U.S. Immigration and Customs enforcement (ICE) is a federal law enforcement agency. 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," said an ICE spokesperson in a statement.
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