Unlawful search and seizure is one of the tenets upon American law is based. However, this has come under increasing attack, and it is well-known that police and government agents will attempt to compel people to freely abandon their legal protections so they can do what they want. It is permissible under US law for the police to lie to the citizenry to do this.
However, a recent case where ICE agents showed up at a New York homeless shelter ended well after the shelter refused to let the agents in to search for a particular suspect because, by law, they did not have the proper warrant to conduct a search:
Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents tried to enter a Brooklyn homeless shelter Tuesday night but were turned away after failing to produce a warrant, said Christine Quinn, the shelter network’s director.
The agents came to the East New York WIN shelter around 10 p.m. and showed guards a photo of someone they were seeking to detain, she said.
The ICE agents said they had a warrant. When asked to display it, they balked, and WIN guards denied them entry.
“They showed nothing except for a picture of an individual,” Quinn said. “The guards kept saying, ‘Show us a warrant signed by a judge.’ They wouldn’t show a warrant.”
ICE spokeswoman Rachael Yong Yow denied that ICE sent an enforcement team to the shelter.
But WIN’s head of security said he was talking to the shelter’s guards during the standoff and that eight people wearing ICE insignia who identified themselves as agents were in fact there.
If a warrant had been produced, shelter guards would have then been required to send a picture or scan of it to lawyers with the city Department of Homeless Services. If DHS deemed it up to snuff, the guards would have then presumably provided access to the facility.
Staff on Wednesday declined to discuss the night raid.
“We can’t talk about it,” one guard said upon leaving the high-rise shelter.
“It’s good they didn’t let them in,” said one of the facility’s residents.
But Quinn questioned whether this was strictly about access or more about instilling fear among the city’s homeless and immigrant populations. She pointed to President Trump’s announcements of ICE raids in big cities that never actually came to fruition, but led to heightened anxieties.
“Our most basic job at WIN is keeping our clients safe,” she said. “That means keeping them safe from abusers, that means keeping them safe from neighborhood factors and that means keeping them safe from the biggest bully of all — the president of the United States.”
ICE spokeswoman Yow noted that “ICE officers conduct enforcement actions on a daily basis, and we continue to abide by our sensitive locations policy.”
“Due to law-enforcement sensitivities and the safety and security of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel, the agency will not offer specific details related to enforcement operations,” she said. (source, source)