Verify: Does ICE conduct checkpoints?

This week, a Twitter user uploaded a photo showing uniformed officers and unmarked vans at a South Sacramento location, claiming ICE was present. (Feb. 7, 2017)

President Trump's immigration plans are igniting fear in people across the nation who face the possibility of leaving the only country they know as home.

Those affected by the plans worry that Trump's immigration policies could rip apart their families and the life they have in the United States.

Fear can often spread misinformation about immigration and it's not uncommon to hear rumors about U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids happening in communities.

Tuesday, NBC Charlotte began seeing rumblings across social media of ICE checkpoints in east Charlotte. NBC Charlotte reached out to the regional ICE office for comment.

The spokesperson said there are no, nor have there ever been, any ICE vehicle checkpoints in the City of Charlotte-- or anywhere else in the nation for that matter, nor do they conduct random stops.

He continued that the photo circulating on social media in the Charlotte area shows a "targeted enforcement.

Both men taken into custody Tuesday were arrested as part of the "agency's focus on criminal offenders and individuals who pose a threat to national security, public safety and border security," said Bryan Cox, the spokesman for the ICE Southern Region. 

Both men, Salamon Gonzalez-Rivas and Edgar Herrera-Velasquez, have prior DUI convictions in North Carolina, and were not pulled over randomly, according to Cox. 

“Every day, as part of routine targeted enforcement operations, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Fugitive Operations teams arrest criminal aliens and other individuals who are in violation of our nation’s immigration laws," Cox said. "ICE conducts targeted immigration enforcement in compliance with federal law and agency policy. ICE does not conduct sweeps or raids that target aliens indiscriminately.”

Cox also says that local law enforcement was not present and all officers shown in the photos circulating on social media are ICE officers. 

Similar reports of "suspected" ICE raids have been made across the country in the wake of President Trump's immigration policy. 

This week, a Twitter user uploaded a photo showing uniformed officers and unmarked vans at a South Sacramento location, claiming ICE was present.

The word spread quickly across social media including Facebook, where it was reposted and shared dozens of times:

NBC Charlotte's sister station in Sacramento, ABC10, reached out to ICE to verify whether or not their agents were, in fact, present at the location conducting a checkpoint.

James Schwab, spokesperson for ICE, told ABC10 that ICE was not present or conducting a checkpoint in South Sacramento, and, in fact, the agency doesn't ever set up checkpoints.

"I don't think I've ever seen that," Schwab said. "It's not something we do at all."

Schwab explained, ICE only conducts "targeted enforcement" where agents have an individual or individuals they are looking for. ICE doesn't ask people not targeted for any form of documentation and raids are always the result of targeted enforcement.

ICE agents also participate in other Homeland Security tasks such as investigating counterfeit crimes, cyber crimes, child sex trafficking and other issues. 

"Just because you see an ICE person, doesn't mean it's a targeted enforcement," Schwab said.

While ICE doesn't conduct immigration checkpoints, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection does, but they are public, known checkpoints.

There are several traffic checkpoints in California within less than 100 miles from the Mexican border in cities including Temecula and San Clemente, according to Jose Hernandez, spokesperson for the U.S. Border Patrol.

The checkpoints have signs and flashing lights and serve as a second check from the border station for drivers heading northbound on major interstates.

However, these border checkpoints do not exist in the Sacramento area.

"There are false reports of checkpoints in San Francisco, Sacramento and the middle of the country where there is no Border Patrol," Hernandez said.

What's next?

The spokespersons for the various agencies in contact with ABC10 could only comment on current practices.

Since the U.S. has a new President, we have to wait and see what the future holds for immigration policies and practices.

Copyright 2017 KXTV


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