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Tag: ICE

Biden Taps Ed Gonzalez, a Texas Sheriff, to Head ICE

Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez has been nominated to head ICE.

By Steve Neavling

President Joe Biden plans to nominate Ed Gonzalez, a Texas sheriff and outspoken critic of Donald Trump’s immigration policies, to lead Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the White House announced Tuesday.

Gonzalez was elected sheriff of Harris County, which includes Houston, in 2016 and reelected in 2020. 

Gonzalez will likely face opposition from Republicans during his Senate confirmation hearing, which has not yet been set. 

ICE has not had a permanent leader since 2017. 

Gonzalez has criticized Trump’s deportation policies and the separation of migrant children from their families. 

His law enforcement career began in the Houston Police Department, and he later served three terms on the Houston City Council. 

Gonzalez has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Houston Downtown and a master’s degree from the University of St. Thomas. 

Biden Wants Funding Increase to Investigate White Supremacy within CBP, ICE

Photo via Border Patrol

By Steve Neavling

President Biden’s budget proposal seeks to increase oversight of Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement to investigate complaints of white supremacy. 

Under the proposal, workforce oversight offices within CBP and ICE would receive $470 million, a 22% increase in funding, Reuters reports.

The idea is to ensure timely investigations of workforce complaints, including “those related to white supremacy or ideological and non-ideological beliefs.”

The impetus for the increased oversight wasn’t immediately clear, but the Biden administration has prioritized combating domestic extremism, which a Homeland Security report in 2020 described as “the most persistent and lethal threat” to the U.S. 

Homeland Security Investigations tracks down 19th Century Painting Stolen in Italy

“The Assumption of the Virgin Mary” by Italian artist Giuseppe Pappini in 1851.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) tracked down a 19th century painting that was stolen in Italy in 2002.

Acting on a tip from the HSI Attaché Office in Rome, investigators found the painting in the Dallas area, where a private art collected had purchased the painting in 2015 from a dealer who apparently was unaware that it was stolen, ICE says in a news release.

The artwork, titled “the Assumption of the Virgin Mary,” was painted by Italian artist Giuseppe Pappini in August 1851.

The private collector agreed to hand over the painting to investigators so it could be returned to the Abbey of Santa Maria in Sylvis in Sesto al Reghena, a monastery in Italy where it had been stolen.

“Investigating the loss or looting of cultural heritage properties and returning them to their countries of origin is an important part of HSI’s diverse mission” Ryan L. Spradlin, special agent in charge of HSI Dallas, said. “Our specially trained investigators and attachés in more than 40 countries not only partner with governments, agencies and experts who share our mission to protect these items, but they train the investigators of other nations and agencies on how to find, authenticate and enforce the law to recover these items when they emerge in the marketplace.”

Read more about ICE’s investigations of cultural property, arts and antiques.

Largest ICE Raid During COVID-19 Pandemic Leads to 2,000+ Arrests

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A six-week ICE operation netted more than 2,000 arrests of undocumented immigrants, most of whom have been charged or convicted of a crime.

The operation, which ran from July to August, led to arrests in communities across the country, CBS News reports.

About 85% of those arrested had been charged or convicted of crimes ranging from domestic abuse to robbery. Those without criminal charges involved immigrants who did not leave the country after a judge ordered them to be deported.

It was the largest operation since the coronavirus pandemic.

ICE has limited its operations amid COVID-19 to avoid outbreaks among detainees. ICE arrested 94,500 arrests inside communities in this fiscal year, as of Aug. 22. During the same time period last year, ICE arrested more than 143,000 people.

ICE Rescinds Controversial Policy to Suspend Student Visas over Online Classes

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A controversial ICE policy that would have stripped international students of their visas if their college exclusively offered online classes amid the coronavirus pandemic has been rescinded.

The reversal was announced Tuesday by a U.S. District judge who was hearing a lawsuit filed by Harvard and MIT, The Boston Herald reports.

“I have been informed by the parties that they have come to a resolution,” U.S. District Judge Allison Burroughs said during a Tuesday hearing.

“The government has agreed to rescind the July 6, 2020 policy directive,” she said.

The means international students may stay in the U.S. to take classes online.

On Monday, 18 states filed suit against the Trump administration in an attempt to rescind the new policy, alleging several violations of federal law and calling the new rule “cruel, abrupt and unlawful.”

Many universities have yet to decide whether they’re offering in-person courses this fall as the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise nationwide. The Trump administration has been pressuring colleges to offer in-person classes, despite concerns about the spread of COVID-19, which has killed more than 135,000 people in the U.S.

ICE Offering ‘Citizens Academy’ To Teach Public What the Agency Does

ICE official, via ICE.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

ICE plans to offer a “Citizens Academy” to give the public a better understanding of how the agency operates.

The pilot program is set to begin this fall in Chicago this fall and will be run by ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations, Yahoo News first reported. If it’s successful, ICE will offer the academy nationwide.

In the six-week program, “participants will gain insight into the many facets and responsibilities of ICE/ERO operations” through, among other things, “scenario-based training and exercises conducted in a safe and positive environment, including, but not limited to, defensive tactics, firearms familiarization, and targeted arrests.”

The idea is to build trust in the community by showing the public the ins and outs of ICE’s operations.

“ICE is not training the public to do the work of trained federal law enforcement officers,” Nicole Alberico, a spokeswoman for ICE’s Chicago field office, says. “In fact, we hope by showing members of the community ICE’s process — the why and how an immigration arrest is made — will alleviate fear and misunderstanding of exactly what ICE does.”

House Democrats Call for Severe Funding Cuts to ICE, Border Patrol

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

House Democrats announced a plan Monday to severely cut the budgets of Border Patrol and ICE to reduce Homeland Security’s deportation operations.

The House Appropriations Committee introduced the fiscal 2021 spending bill, which would halt the hiring of new Border Patrol agents, prevent additional construction on President Trump’s border wall, and stop the detention of families, The Washington Times reports.

Under the plan, watchdog groups would receive a boost in funding to oversee ICE operations.

ICE’s deportation and detention division would be reduced to $3.3 billion, a $1.1 billion cut.

“Our bill fights for a more humane immigration approach, including the more restricted use of civil detention, expanded alternatives to detention, and the phase-out of family detention this year,” Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, chairwoman of the subcommittee that oversees Homeland Security funding, said.

Protest Outside Privately Run ICE Processing Plant in California Turns Violent

Adelanto ICE Processing Center in California, via Facebook.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A protest at a privately run ICE processing center in California turned violent as demonstrators damaged numerous vehicles, tagged the building with graffiti and broke some of the facility’s front windows, causing a minor injury.

The Desert Sun reports that protesters threw rocks at the Adelanto ICE Processing Center on Sunday afternoon, injuring an employee of GEO Group, the private company that runs the facility.

An Anaheim woman was arrested.

Protesters tagged the facility and a GEO Group sign with messages that read, “BROWN LIVES MATTER,” ABOLISH ICE“ and “FREE OUR PEOPLE!”

ICE spokesperson Alexx Pons said 44 vehicles, including three sheriff’s squad cars, were damaged.

The “Adelanto facility experienced what can only be described as a destructive criminal attack” that was “apparently motivated by ongoing disinformation campaigns against ICE orchestrated by those who oppose enforcement of the immigration laws established by Congress,” said Dave Marin, the agency’s enforcement and removal operations director at the Los Angeles field office.

“Allegations that our dedicated officers systematically mistreat, abuse, or neglect detainees remain horrific lies,” Marin said. “The safety and security of those in our custody continues to be a top agency priority.”