A media investigation found that Pennsylvania troopers and some local officers were helping federal authorities round up immigrants for deportation, using tactics that raise questions about racial profiling and unlawful arrest.
By the end of this month, Pennsylvania State Police officers will be required to file a report any time they call immigration authorities to the scene of a traffic stop, detailing the circumstances behind the call, the agency said Wednesday. This change comes two months after ProPublica and the Philadelphia Inquirer published an investigation about state and local police officers in Pennsylvania helping ICE round up immigrants for deportation, using tactics that raise questions about racial profiling and unlawful arrest. The story focused on Pennsylvania state Trooper Luke C. Macke as an extreme example. In 2017, Macke turned over at least 19 undocumented immigrants to ICE after interrogating them about their legal status.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf called for “a need for stronger uniform procedures addressing state police requests for assistance from outside agencies, including ICE, especially given the new pressure on state and local agencies from the federal government.” Across the U.S., cities and states have wrestled with their relationship with ICE. The Pennsylvania State Police has given wide discretion to its officers in the past and did not have specific policies for handling immigration checks. A spokesman said the state police considers each traffic stop unique and places a special responsibility on its highway patrol officers to be on the alert for drug, gun, and human traffickers and to reach out as necessary to federal agencies. The department now says it plans to release an updated policy to guide troopers on their interactions with outside agencies later this summer.