Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said today it had received "disturbing" reports of people in the Houston area posing as Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents and telling residents in the area to leave their homes.
ICE warned that the fake agents were presumably asking people to leave so they could rob their now-empty houses.
HSI special agents generally carry out the investigative and often non-immigration related mission of the agency, which includes everything from financial crimes and art and antiquity theft to transnational gang activity. HSI agents and other ICE personnel have been deployed to Texas in the wake of Hurricane Harvey to assist in relief efforts, ABC News reports.
Officers representing the agency as HSI or Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) agents wear badges that are labeled "special agent." Members of the public can ask to see the badges to verify. All ICE officials working in Texas carry credentials with their name and organization, said ICE.
On Friday, ICE and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued a statement saying that "routine non-criminal immigration enforcement operations will not be conducted at evacuation sites, or assistance centers such as shelters or food banks. The laws will not be suspended, and we will be vigilant against any effort by criminals to exploit disruptions caused by the storm."