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Tag: ICE

ICE Agents Are Ignoring Finer Points of Immigration Law

Courtesy of ICE

Courtesy of ICE

By Sandra Hernandez
Los Angeles Times

Whenever U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement insists it is just doing its job, Americans should take a closer look at what is happening.

With an executive order signed in his first week in office, President Trump has “taken the shackles off” ICE and Border Patrol officers, according to the White House, expanding the priorities for deporting immigrants.  Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly claims his agents will focus on those convicted of or charged with crimes, but immigrant advocacy groups and the news media already have documented arrests, detentions and deportations of  immigrants who in no way represent a threat to public safety.

From 2006 through early 2010, I reported on Immigration and Customs Enforcement. What I learned was that no matter the ostensible priorities of federal agencies — or even settled law — ICE was an agency prone to overreach.

In those days, immigration agents liked to roll out press releases touting the successes of their  “fugitive operations.” The releases detailed how violent gang members, sexual predators and other criminals were taken off the streets. Time and again, I pressed the agency for detailed information on those arrested only to discover the detainees were neither fugitives nor serious criminals.

Instead, I found longtime green card holders who had been convicted decades earlier of minor offenses.  Or who were ordered deported in absentia, in some cases because they had moved or the wrong paperwork had been filed.  Among the detainees without green cards, many simply didn’t come close to fitting the description “danger to society.” They were street vendors, construction workers, janitors and small business owners, albeit without papers.

To read more click here.

Baltimore Sun: Trump’s Immigration Policies Are Inhumane, Unsafe

Donald Trump

Donald Trump

By Editorial Board
The Baltimore Sun

The new immigration policies President Donald Trump‘s administration released Tuesday make America less humane; they target millions of people who have been in this country for years, have contributed to society and have raised children here. They make America less free because they portend the creation of a massive “deportation force” that will hunt through communities coast-to-coast for those here illegally, inevitably sweeping up the innocent and increasing racial and ethnic profiling. But most of all, they will make America less safe.

Mr. Trump’s spokesman, Sean Spicer, says the president intends to “take the shackles off” immigration officers to make “the No. 1 priority” removing those “who pose a threat to our country.” Actually, that was the No. 1 priority under the Obama administration, which instructed immigration enforcement agents to prioritize deportation of those who committed serious crimes while in the United States. The Trump policy would allow for deportation of people who violate traffic laws or who have even been accused of a crime but not convicted. Innocent until proven guilty no longer applies, and immigration agents will have vastly expanded authority to determine on their own who constitutes a “threat.”

Immigration courts are facing a huge backlog as it is, some 540,000 cases with an average wait of more than two years. In some courts, the delay is much longer. Mr. Trump says he wants to throw more resources at the system, but how much and how quickly? For the time being, flooding the courts with people who have not shown themselves to be a danger would only delay the deportation of people who are.

Mr. Trump plans to deal with that to some degree by vastly expanding a program that eliminates due process for some immigrants caught in this country illegally. The “expedited removal” program, as it was used by the Obama administration, allowed for the elimination of some protections and hearings before deportation for people caught near the border who had been in the country for less than two weeks. Mr. Trump wants to expand it nationwide and draw in those who have been here for up to two years.

To read more click here. 

Other Stories of Interest

President Trump Faces Big Hurdle in Hiring 15,000 Agents for ICE, Border Patrol

ICE agents, via Wikipedia

ICE agents, via Wikipedia

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s plans to hire 10,000 more ICE officers and 5,000 more Border Patrol agents may not succeed.

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said it’s unlikely that “we’re going to get 10,000 and 5,000 on board within the next couple of year,” NPR reports.

That’s largely because of the extensive training and background checks for potential agents.

When the number of agents at Customs and Border Protection were increased from 10,000 to 21,000 during the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administration, problems occurred. For example, new agents were rushed into the field, many without completed background checks.

“You have to make sure that no red flags come up in someone’s background before you’re putting them in a position like this,” says Shawn Moran, vice president of the National Border Patrol Council, the union that represents Border Patrol agents.

One of the most burdensome steps to becoming an agent is passing a rigorous – and some say flawed and overly burdensome – polygraph exam that two out of three applicants fail.

Moran said the exams, which can take up to eight hours, “is excluding qualified candidates from being Border Patrol agents.”

ICE Arrests Honduran Man Who’s Wanted in Machete Deaths

Courtesy of ICE

Courtesy of ICE

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An undocumented immigrant who hacked two men to death with a machete in Honduras was arrested in North Carolina on Tuesday.

ICE deportation officers arrested Francisco Escobar-Orellana, a Honduran national, near his Hope Mills, N.C., home.

An arrest warrant for Escobar was issued in May 2995 following the machete attacks at a liquor store in 1993.

At some point, Escobar illegally entered the United States.

“ICE is focused on identifying, arresting and removing public safety threats, such as convicted criminal aliens and gang members, as well as individuals who have violated our nation’s immigration laws,” said ERO Atlanta Field Office Director Sean Gallagher in a statement. “ICE Fugitive Operations Teams conduct targeted enforcement operations toward these identified threats to public safety. North Carolina residents are safer today thanks to the professionalism and hard work of these dedicated officers.”

ICE plans to remove Escobar from the U.S. so he can face criminal charges in Honduras.

DHS Memos Detail More Aggressive Fight Against Undocumented Immigrants

border patrol 3By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Homeland Security released two memos on Tuesday that address how federal authorities will implement two executive orders on border security and immigration law enforcement, Business Insider reports.

President Trump signed the executive orders in January.

Federal authorities will now have more power to detain and deport undocumented immigrants. The memos also called for “expired removal” in an attempt to bypass court proceedings.

The memos also indicate Border Patrol and ICE may hire 10,000 officers and agents.

White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, said the memos satisfied “another major campaign promise of the president.”

The memos indicate that an increase in apprehension at the border has “significantly strained DHS resources.”

“The surge of illegal immigration at the southern border has overwhelmed federal agencies and resources and has created a significant national security vulnerability to the United States,” Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly wrote in the memos.

“Thousands of aliens apprehended at the border, placed in removal proceedings, and released from custody have absconded and failed to appear at their removal hearings.”

President Trump’s Immigration Plans Remain Murky Despite Rhetoric

Donald Trump

Donald Trump

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Immigrants nationwide are waiting anxiously to see how President Trump handles immigration enforcement after his rhetoric suggested a hardline approach.

What remains unclear is whether recent raids mark a departure from Obama administration’s policies, Newsday reports. 

President Obama wasn’t exactly weak on immigration. In fact, his administration deported an estimated 2.5 million immigrants, more than his predecessors.

On Feb. 12, Trump tweeted, ““The crackdown on illegal criminals is merely the keeping of my campaign promise. Gang members, drug dealers & others are being removed!”

“The Border Patrol has traditionally picked up people and created a climate of fear for even those who have papers,” Meghan Maloney of the New York Immigration Project told the Buffalo News. “In this current climate, that fear is much more palpable.”

But the conservative National Review suggested last week that the deportation policies so far are “nothing new.”

“Illegal immigrants in the United States have long dealt with the fear that ICE officers would be knocking at their door,” it said. “In fiscal year 2012, for example, ICE removed over 400,000 illegal aliens, a number that was high enough to prompt frenzied anti-deportation rhetoric.”

Washington Post: Trump Administration Uses Fear to Direct Immigration Policy

border patrol 3By Editorial Board
Washington Post

As a candidate, Donald Trump pledged “zero tolerance for criminal aliens,” a stance, stripped of its tough-guy rhetoric, that might not have represented too drastic a departure from President Barack Obama’s prioritization of undocumented felons for deportation. Within days of taking office, however, Mr. Trump issued an executive order that expanded the definition of criminality so broadly as to encompass virtually any undocumented immigrant charged with a crime or even suspected of having broken a law.

In sweeps by immigration agents across the country, the new administration seemed to be making good on Mr. Trump’s threat by arresting more than 600 undocumented immigrants, most of them in metropolitan areas in a dozen or so states. While the actions by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in themselves were not dissimilar to raids undertaken during the Obama administration — which in the 2012 fiscal year alone resulted in the deportation of more than 400,000 people — they unleashed a wave of anxiety in immigrant communities. For good reason, they feel they are in the new president’s crosshairs.

That anxiety was fed by reports, subsequently confirmed by ICE officials, that along with unauthorized immigrants who had committed serious crimes, others were caught in the dragnet if they happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, lacking papers.

In a conference call with reporters, David Marin, a top ICE official in Los Angeles, justified the raids by saying that “dangerous criminals who should be deported are being released into our communities.” At the same time, though, he cast doubt on his own assertion by acknowledging that about 40 of the roughly 160 undocumented immigrants detained by ICE agents in the Los Angeles area had been convicted not of felonies but of misdemeanors — and in a few cases had no criminal convictions at all. It’s anyone’s guess how those 40 count as “dangerous criminals who should be deported.”

To read more click here. 

Nearly 700 Undocumented Immigrants Arrested in Recent Raids

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s pledge to remove 2 million to 3 million undocumented immigrants from the U.S. began last week when federal officers arrested more than 680 people living in the country illegally, Reuters reports.  

The  Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids were conducted in at least a dozen states, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said.

Kelly said 75% of the immigrants arrested had criminal records.

Trump praised his administration for having “really done a great job” arresting immigrants.

“We’re actually taking people that are criminals, very, very, hardened criminals in some cases with a tremendous track record of abuse and problems,” Trump said.

Immigrants were targeted in Los Angeles, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, San Antonio and the Midwest.