Crime

New Bill Would Require ICE To Wear Body Cameras

| by Ray Brown

A Congresswoman from Brooklyn has introduced a bill that would require Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers to wear body cameras.

Democratic Rep. Yvette D. Clarke of New York introduced the ICE Body Camera Act of 2017, which would "require all deportation officers of U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement to wear body cameras when engaged in field operations and removal proceedings, and for other purposes," according to Congress.gov.

"As Donald Trump has dramatically expanded the number of undocumented Americans who are a priority for deportation, many immigrants in Brooklyn and across the United States now fear a knock on the door in the middle of the night or checkpoints on their drive home from work," Clarke said in a statement, according to Patch. "These immigrants as well as advocates are concerned about the possibility of abuse, particularly when individuals detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement have only severely limited access to attorneys and to the due process of law. We need to establish procedures that protect their rights."

According to The Hill, the bill has 18 Democratic co-sponsors.

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However, Republicans control the House, making the bill's likelihood of passing highly unlikely.

But according to a study by former President Barack Obama's Task Force on 21st Century Policing, released in March, 2015, body cameras have a positive effect on police and community relations.

"They found that the officers wearing the cameras had 87.5 percent fewer incidents of use of force and 59 percent fewer complaints than the officers not wearing the cameras," the report states, according to the Christian Science Monitor. "One of the important findings of the study was the impact BWCs might have on the self-awareness of officers and citizens alike. When police officers are acutely aware that their behavior is being monitored (because they turn on the cameras), and when officers tell citizens that the cameras are recording their behavior, everyone behaves better. The results of this study are highly suggestive that this increase in self-awareness contributes to more positive outcomes in police-citizen interaction."

"We should apply this same approach to immigration enforcement," Clarke said, according to the New York Daily News. "Immigrants and their families are entitled to respect for their humanity and to the full rights guaranteed under the law."

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Clarke, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants, has been vocal about her opposition to President Donald Trump and his policies towards immigrants.

According to the Jamaica Observer, Clarke said Trump's administration was running on "dysfunction and ineptitude, coupled with philosophies of hatred and division."

"This is an intolerable combination; indeed, it is dangerous," Clarke said in February. "His executive orders have been issued without a plan for implementation, a ‘make it up as we go along’ mentality that has resulted in anxiety, panic and chaos at our airports, and in our very communities among our neighbors."

Sources: Patch, New York Daily News, Christian Science Monitor, The Hill, Congress.gov, Jamaica Observer / Photo credit: Ashoka Jegroo/Wikimedia Commons

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