MEMPHIS, Tenn. — WREG has learned immigration officers are making arrests in Memphis without the support of local officials.
It came out after a video surfaced appearing to show agents taking people into custody at a Memphis apartment complex.
Immigrations and Customs Enforcement officials confirmed their officers performed the arrests, despite them wearing vests labeled "POLICE." ICE officials said their agents wear that label to make their authority clear to anyone, regardless of the language they speak.
In the video, you can see 10 immigration agents surrounding a dark pickup truck.
They told one man to get of the truck, forced him against it and patted him down.
Meanwhile, officers escorted another man away in handcuffs.
Ree Walker said he was glad to see the immigration officials in his neighborhood, Cottonwood Apartments.
"I don't want to see any family broken apart, but illegal is illegal," Walker said.
ICE officials told WREG they engaged in a targeted operation to find Andres Andres-Francisco.
Court documents showed he was arrested in April for domestic violence in Shelby County. Officials accused him of shoving his girlfriend to the ground and attempting to choke her.
ICE officials said they only focus on deporting people like Andres-Francisco who've been charged with a crime. But they did end up taking another man, Domingo Andres-Francisco, in to custody because he was in the car with the target of the operation.
"ICE always seems to have an explanation as to why but we have several families affected by the continuous targeting and racial profiling. It's breaking the Constitution. Racial profiling is not right," said Greg Diaz with Las Americas Youth Development Center.
While Diaz doesn't make excuses for people charged with crimes, he said officials are tearing families apart instead of giving them a path to become contributing members of society.
"I'm getting phone calls from major companies and corporations in Memphis asking, 'Do you know a good 20 to 30 people who want to work? We can not find good jobs. That's so hypocritical," Diaz said. "If you create this type of demand for labor, shouldn’t we create a path for them to work without fear?"
ICE officials said they'd prefer for the Shelby County Sheriff's Office to work with them and actually turn over people straight from jail if they don't have citizenship status. But, since the Sheriff's Office does not, they feel they're forced to go out in the communities and make arrests like they did Wednesday.
Memphis Police also said Thursday it had no part in the arrests.