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Demonstrators Attacked ICE Building in Oregon, Leading to Arrests

ICE building damaged in Portland, Or. Twitter/@LauraJedeed

By Steve Neavling

At least eight people have been charged in demonstrations that left an ICE building vandalized in Portland, police said. 

Shortly after 9 p.m. Wednesday, police said a group of roughly 150 people converged on the ICE building on the 4300 block of S. Macadam, tagging it with graffiti that included messages such as “Reunite families now” and “Kill cops!!!”

Some demonstrators were wearing gas masks and helmets and carrying batons, fireworks, shields, umbrellas, rocks and pepper ball guns, police said

Federal officers converged on the building at about 9:45 and pushed protesters back. In the meantime, Portland made arrests. 

Earlier in the day, protesters also attacked the Democratic Party of Oregon’s headquarters, smashing windows and spraying graffiti. 

‘Unintentional Ripple:’ Biden to Keep Wray, Says White House Press Secretary

Christopher Wray is sworn in as the new FBI director. Photo via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

Let’s try that again. 

A day after the new White House press secretary told reporters she was unsure if President Biden had confidence in FBI Director Christopher Wray, Jen Psaki circled back with an unequivocal response. 

“I caused an unintentional ripple yesterday so wanted to state very clearly President Biden intends to keep FBI Director Wray on in his role and he has confidence in the job he is doing,” Psaki wrote on Twitter on Thursday. 

Former President Trump appointed Wray to a 10-year term in 2017 after firing then-FBI Director James Comey, a move that prompted the appointment of Robert Mueller as special counsel. 

Wray and Trump had a rocky relationship because the FBI director refused to peddle unfounded claims about widespread fraud in the election. Wray also denied the Mueller probe was a “witch hunt,” as Trump often claimed. 

Biden has pledged to restore faith in the Justice Department’s independence. 

Ex-CBP Officer Sentenced to 30 Months in Prison for Bribery

Photo via Border Patrol

By Steve Neavling

A former CBP officer from Nogales has been sentenced to 30 months in prison after pleading guilty to bribery. 

Jose Rosalio Fuentes, 58, was a CBP officer assigned to canine duty at the Nogales Port of entry in early 2018 when he allowed an undocumented immigrant into the U.S. in exchange for a $6,000 cash bribe. 

Fuentes, who knew the migrant was a convicted felon, allowed the man to enter the U.S. through the Nogales Port of Entry during his shift. A surveillance camera captured Fuentes pretending to swipe the migrant’s ID card at the port of entry before allowing him to pass through the pedestrian gate. 

Fuentes also was sentenced last week to three years of probation and a $6,000 fine. 

The investigation was led by Southern Arizona Corruption Task Force, which includes members from the FBI, the Homeland Security-Office of Inspector General, Immigration and Custom Enforcement-Office of Professional Responsibility, CBP-Office of Professional Responsibility, Tucson Police Department, and the DEA. 

The Public Integrity Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office prosecuted the case. 

Update: Biden to Keep FBI Director Christopher Wray

FBI Director Christopher Wray in Atlanta. Photo via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

Update: Thursday, 4:22 p.m.President Joe Biden plans to keep FBI Director Christopher Wray in his post, a senior administration official tells CNN.


Posted From Thursday Morning

Will President Biden keep Christopher Wray at the helm of the FBI? 

Asked if Biden has confidence in the FBI director, the White House’s new press secretary didn’t have a direct answer. 

“I have not spoke with him about specifically FBI Director Wray in recent days,” Jen Psaki said at the Biden administration’s first news conference, The Washington Post reports.

A government officials told The Post that there was no indication that Biden was worried about Wray, who was often criticized by President Trump for failing to peddle baseless claims about election fraud. 

Wray took over as director in 2017 after Trump fired then-FBI Director James Comey in May of that year. 

Directors traditionally serve 10-year terms. 

Sen. Hawley Blocks Fast-Tracked Confirmation of Biden’s Homeland Security Pick

Alejandro Mayorkas

By Steve Neavling

Sen. Josh Hawley blocked the fast-track confirmation process for President-elect Joe Biden’s Homeland Security director pick Alejandro Mayorkas. 

“I cannot consent to skip the standard vetting process and fast-track this nomination when so many questions remain unanswered,” the Missouri Republican said in a statement, The Los Angeles Times reports.

Hawley said he had concerns with Biden’s immigration proposal. 

“Mr. Mayorkas has not adequately explained how he will enforce federal law and secure the southern border given President-elect Biden’s promise to roll back major enforcement and security measures,” Hawley said. “Just today, he declined to say he would enforce the laws Congress has already passed to secure the border wall system.”

When Biden announced his nominee in November, he said Mayorkas “will play a critical role in fixing our broken immigration system and understands that living up to our values and protecting our nation’s security aren’t mutually exclusive — and under his leadership, they’ll go hand-in-hand.”

Biden was hoping for a quick confirmation because of the numerous national security issues facing the country.

Mayorkas, 61, is poised to become the first immigrant and Hispanic to lead the department. 

Mayorkas served as deputy homeland security secretary from 2013 to 2016 under President Obama. A former U.S. attorney in California, Mayorkas also served as director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services during Obama’s first term. 

Born in Cuba, Mayorkas and her family arrived as refugees in the 1960s, settling in Southern California. His mother was a Holocaust survivor. Mayorkas graduated from the University of California-Berkeley and earned a law degree from Loyola Law School. 

Kieran Ramsey Named Special Agent in Charge of FBI’s Portland Field Office

By Steve Neavling

Kieran Ramsey has been named special agent in charge of the FBI’s Portland Field Office. 

Most recently, Ramsey was the director of the FBI Hostage Recovery Fusion Cell (HRFC) in the Counterterrorism Division at FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C.

In 1998, Ramsey joined the bureau as a special agent in the Seattle Field Office, where he served on a public corruption task force, an organized crime squad, and the Seattle Joint Terrorism Task Force. Ramsey also was the senior leader of Seattle’s Evidence Response Team and deployed to the World Trade Center after 9/11.

In 2005, Ramsey became supervisory special agent and worked in the Counterterrorism HUMINT Operations Unit at FBI headquarters. 

In 2007, he was promoted to legal attaché in Cairo, where he served as the principal FBI official for U.S. embassies in Egypt, Sudan, and Libya.

In 2019, Ramsey was tapped as supervisory senior resident agent of the New Hampshire offices under the Boston Field Office, where he also directed the New Hampshire Safe Streets Task Force and the New Hampshire Joint Terrorism Task Force. 

In 2013, he became assistant special agent in charge of the Boston’s Counterterrorism Branch and led the Boston Marathon Bombing Task Force.

In 2017, he served as legal attaché in Rome in 2017, covering Italy, The Holy See, and Malta. 

Ramsey was promoted to section chief in 2018 and named the director of the Hostage Recovery Fusion Cell (MRFC), an interagency that leads the U.S. government’s efforts to recover U.S. national hostages held abroad.

Before joining the bureau, Ramsey was a special agent with the U.S. Customs Service. He received a bachelor’s degree from Northeastern University in Boston and a master’s degree from Georgetown University in Washington.

Alejandro Mayorkas Will Pledge to Thwart Future Assaults on U.S. Institutions

Alejandro Mayorkas

By Steve Neavling

Alejandro Mayorkas, who is President-elect Joe Biden’s pick to lead the Department of Homeland Security, plans to tell lawmakers today that one of his top priorities is preventing attacks similar to the Capitol siege, POLITICO reports.

Mayorkas, 61, is to make the pledge during his appearance before the Senate Homeland Security Committee.  

“If I should have the honor of being confirmed, I will do everything I can to ensure that the tragic loss of life, the assault on law enforcement, the desecration of the building that stands as one of the three pillars of our democracy, and the terror felt by you, your colleagues, staff, and everyone present, will not happen again,” Mayorkas, 61, plans to tell lawmakers in his opening statement.

Senate Democrats are hoping to get Mayorkas confirmed as early as this week because of the national security threats. 

Mayorkas is poised to become the first immigrant and Hispanic to lead the department. 

Mayorkas served as deputy homeland security secretary from 2013 to 2016 under President Obama. A former U.S. attorney in California, Mayorkas also served as director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services during Obama’s first term. 

Born in Cuba, Mayorkas and her family arrived as refugees in the 1960s, settling in Southern California. His mother was a Holocaust survivor. Mayorkas graduated from the University of California-Berkeley and earned a law degree from Loyola Law School. 

“The love for this country that I learned from my parents made the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol all the more horrifying,” Mayorkas plans to tell senators.