Proposed bill would cut back police communication with ICE

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HARTFORD -
State lawmakers are pushing a bill that would severely limit police interaction with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
 
Immigration groups are hoping to ban police from sharing information with ICE unless they have a judge's warrant.
 
Currently, if an undocumented immigrant is arrested, police can notify ICE if the person presents "an unacceptable risk to public safety."
 
Opponents of the current legislation say officers are given too much leeway to call federal agents. Bridgeport Police Chief AJ Perez says they almost always contact ICE.
 
"We contact the agency. We let them know that we have this person in custody, and they have a certain amount of time to come and get them," says Perez.
 
Veronice Ubaldo, of Bridgeport, says a probation officer was allowed to pass her husband off to ICE.
 
"It was really hard to explain to my kids why they were not going to be able to see their father anymore," says Ubaldo.
 
Ubaldo's story was one of many that were told at a hearing Friday. But there is a fear from opponents of the proposal that it would disallow calling ICE for known gang members of those on a terrorist watch list.
 
John Mohan, a spokesperson for ICE, responded to the proposed bill by saying, "When law enforcement agencies don't honor ICE detainers, these individuals, who often have significant criminal histories, are released onto the street. Arresting a criminal in the safety, security and privacy of a jail is always the best option."
 
Being an undocumented immigrant is considered a civil offense, but not a criminal one.
 
Republicans are also pushing a competing bill that would require police to work with ICE.
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