Pennsylvania to require police to report when they call ICE during traffic stops

Pennsylvania to require police to report when they call ICE during traffic stops

Pennsylvania State Police officers will soon be required to file a report every time they call Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents to the scene of a traffic stop. 

The agency announced the change on Wednesday, according to Pro Publica and the Philadelphia Inquirer, in response to the news organizations' investigation of police officers assisting ICE round-ups of immigrants for deportation. 

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The story centered on one Pennsylvania state trooper who, in 2017, turned over at least 19 immigrants to ICE after reportedly detaining them for up to four hours without a warrant and interrogating them about their immigration status.

The tactics of the police prompted Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) to issue a statement, saying there is “a need for stronger uniform procedures addressing state police requests for assistance from outside agencies, including ICE, especially given the new pressure on state and local agencies from the federal government.”

The report notes that many U.S. cities have different partnerships with ICE. In cities such as Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, there are restrictions against officers interrogating people about their immigration status and cooperating with ICE — something the news outlets found Pennsylvania officers were still doing. 

The state police did not have detailed policies surrounding immigration checks, however. But it told the news outlets that it will roll out an updated policy this summer with more specific guidelines regarding their communication with outside agencies. 

Questions remain about what these updates will do in regards to the police working with ICE. 

“It is disturbing that the Pennsylvania State Police is aware that their troopers are detaining individuals or prolonging stops solely to enforce immigration law, yet they have created a so-called ‘update’ to their management system that does little to stop this illegal practice,” said Ricky Palladino, an immigration lawyer who has represented two people detained by Pennsylvania state police. 

The change from Pennsylvania State Police comes as ICE detainments increase across the U.S. In early June, 114 employees at a gardening and landscaping company in northern Ohio were arrested. It was also reported last week that the agency transferred 1,600 detainees to federal prisons.