ICE agent allegedly poses as Amazon employee to enter UC Berkeley co-op

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Jessica Gleason/File

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The Undocumented Student Program, or USP, the Berkeley Police Department and UCPD have been unable to verify an alleged event in which an Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, agent allegedly tried to enter the Casa Zimbabwe co-op while pretending to be an Amazon delivery employee.

BPD said it received no notification that ICE was in Berkeley.

An email sent to residents from Berkeley Student Cooperative, or BSC, President Zach Gamlieli titled “Immigration Enforcement Activity Affecting the BSC” alleged that an individual in a nondescript brown shirt attempted to enter Casa Zimbabwe while carrying a package.

The member of the co-op who answered the door allegedly denied the individual entry and followed the individual to the front of the property, where the co-op member “saw the individual in plainclothes speaking with the driver of a plain blue Chevy van,” according to the email. “The driver got out of the car and approached carrying a white binder, wearing just a beige leather jacket — no identification. They quickly flashed open the binder and said ‘you have to let us in.’ ”

The member said they noticed a U.S. government insignia and “Federal Immigration Enforcement” written in bold text on paper in the binder.

According to an email from Casa Zimbabwe House President Rizza Estacio titled “Trigger Warning: Immigration Officers at CZ,” the co-op was unsure whether this event was an attempted robbery or an ICE raid.

Both UCPD and USP claimed to have no information regarding this event.

Estacio’s email referred to a BSC tenant protection policy that was instituted in fall 2017. The policy prohibits BSC members or staff from giving voluntary consent to an immigration enforcement agent to enter “non public areas of a place of labor or any unit of the BSC, including common areas.”

The policy also prohibits BSC staff or members from using BSC funds or resources to aid in “the enforcement of Federal immigration law or to gather or disseminate information about our members or staff or any other such personnel.” These two conditions can be applied to cases in which ICE agents do not have a warrant to search the premises.

According to the UC’s “Know Your Rights” fact sheet, ICE agents are not allowed to enter a residence without a search warrant with the correct address of the residence. ICE agents can also be denied entry if the warrant is not signed by a judge. The fact sheet also says those interacting with ICE can exercise their right to remain silent and that they do not have to discuss their citizenship status.

Contact Sabrina Dong at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @Sabrina_Dong_.