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Public Safety

Escondido Police Department's Relationship With Immigration Agents Prompts Warning

Escondido Police Department's Relationship With Immigration Agents Prompts Warning
An Escondido immigrants rights group has issued a travel advisory for people visiting the city.

An Escondido immigrants rights group has issued a travel advisory for people visiting the city.

The immigrants rights group, called El Grupo, is concerned the Escondido Police Department's relationship with Immigration and Customs Enforcement could lead to unreasonable detentions and interrogations for people who look Latino.

Two Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents began working with Escondido police in May.

The agents help determine if suspects are in the country illegally. A federal official who spoke on background says agents occasionally ride in police cars to sites where police believe suspects to be.

Bill Flores, with El Grupo, says that raises concern. "It's a very small step for them to begin initiating traffic stops, for example, where ICE agents approach the vehicle and begin inquiring about the immigration status of any and all occupants," says Flores.

Immigration officials say their priorities are illegal immigrants who've committed a crime or ignored deportation orders.