In order for law enforcement agents to enter private homes, specific legal provisions must be met. The most common tool used by police is that of a warrant issued by a judge. Normally, the warrant is for the arrest of a specific person at a local address. A search warrant requires even stricter legal guidelines. And police also respond to public complaints at private residences. And if they have reason to believe a crime is being committed, law enforcement have some authority to enter private residences without a warrant.

Prof. Peter Markowitz
Confusing? Perhaps the most important thing about all the rules is the idea that law enforcement can’t randomly come into a private residence looking for crime or people to arrest. This was the impetus for a Freedom of Information Act filed against Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) by legal academics at the Benjamin Cardoza School of Law in New York. This FOIA request documented a pattern of illegal entrances into private homes by ICE agents.

Latino USA’s Katie Davis reports.

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