Department of Homeland Security officials say specially trained ICE agents, who may be sent to cities to help put an end to ongoing crime, are equipped to work closely with local police, Politico reports.
In a five-page letter to Illinois Sens. Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin, Assistant DHS Secretary Beth Spivey said any concerns that the ICE agents, which are part of the agency's Homeland Security Investigations unit, would be unprepared to supplement law enforcement efforts are "completely misplaced.”
Her letter of assurance comes after some Senate Democrats have raised concerns over the Trump administration using federal resources to boost Trump politically rather than actually fight crime.
Some Democrat lawmakers have suggested that ICE agents aren’t properly trained to support local policing efforts.
Spivey wrote that agents go through a 56-day "Criminal Investigator Training Program" that teaches "basic" techniques, followed by a 71-day "Special Agent Training" program.
"The special agent-trainees are assessed through written exams, practical exercises, and arduous physical fitness training," Spivey wrote. "Only after fulfilling these requirements are the HSI special agent-trainees bestowed with the appropriate credentials."
She said agents are trained to investigate an array of crimes.
Democrat lawmakers Duckworth and Durbin wrote to DHS Secretary Chad Wolf on Aug. 5 expressing concern over report that agents being sent to Chicago may not be up to the job.
Spivey rebutted their claims in her letter and stated that DHS "generally" works closely with state and local police, including in Chicago.
"[W]ere circumstances to evolve and an increase in DHS law enforcement presence become warranted, we would coordinate that increase with local and state leaders in Chicago and the State of Illinois, respectively," she wrote.
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