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  1. #1
    Super Moderator GeorgiaPeach's Avatar
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    ICE Criminal Investigators Ask to Be Distanced from Detentions, Deportations in Lette

    (Letter at Link)

    ICE Criminal Investigators Ask to Be Distanced from Detentions, Deportations in Letter to Kirstjen Nielsen


    Wed, Jun 27, 2018 at 3:55 pm CST

    Jason Buchan

    A majority of ICE’s top criminal investigation agents are asking Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to spin their division off from the agency.


    In a letter sent last week, 19 special agents in charge at ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations unit said that ICE’s controversial detention and deportation policies have made it hard for them to conduct investigations into threats to national security, organized crime, narcotics smuggling and human trafficking.

    “HSI’s investigations have been perceived as targeting undocumented aliens, instead of the transnational criminal organizations that facilitate cross border crimes impacting our communities and national security,” the special agents in charge wrote in the previously unreported letter.

    They also wrote that “the perception of HSI’s investigative independence is unnecessarily impacted by the political nature” of ICE’s immigration enforcement. “Many jurisdictions continue to refuse to work with HSI because of a perceived linkage to the politics of civil immigration.”

    The letter comes as ICE faces criticism for President Trump’s crackdown on immigrants, including the “zero-tolerance” policy that resulted in thousands of immigrant children being separated from their parents.

    The special agents in charge lead the regional offices for ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations, or HSI, which bills itself as the country’s “transnational investigative agency.” HSI is tasked with going after violators of U.S. customs laws, including human traffickers, child pornographers and drug cartel leaders.
    The agents are asking Nielsen to make HSI a separate agency under the Department of Homeland Security. In their letter, they draw a comparison to how the FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration operate separately under the Department of Justice.

    Several of the agents who signed the letter either didn’t respond to requests for comment or directed questions to ICE’s public affairs office. The ICE and DHS public affairs offices did not immediately respond to requests for comment Wednesday.

    Instead of “contributing to the welfare and safety of the country,” said Peña, the agents worry that HSI is “just becoming a political pawn for this administration.”ICE’s other main component, Enforcement and Removal Operations, known as ERO, handles the detention and deportation of people in the United States without authorization, previously the task of the now-defunct Immigration and Naturalization Service. There have long been tensions between ICE’s two largest components. HSI agents aren’t allowed to unionize under federal law, but the union representing ERO agents endorsed Trump’s candidacy and has been supportive of his harsh immigration policies.



    ICE's current acting director, Tom Homan, is a vocal supporter of Trump’s restrictive immigration measures, often using stronger language than his predecessors. In congressional testimony, he’s said that undocumented immigrants “should look over your shoulder.”


    Speaking at the Border Security Expo in San Antonio earlier this year, Homan criticized court rulings that limit how long ICE can hold families while their asylum cases are heard in immigration court.


    The more than 2,000 children separated from their parents as a result of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy has made ICE radioactive among immigration activists and an increasing number of Democrats who are calling for the agency’s abolition. Congress is also restive and even companies that contract with the agency, such as Microsoft, are growing skittish about working with ICE.

    In this charged atmosphere, HSI agents fear that their mission is being sidelined, said Alonzo Peña, a former ICE deputy director.

    Instead of “contributing to the welfare and safety of the country,” said Peña, the agents worry that HSI is “just becoming a political pawn for this administration.”

    HSI is “supposed to be out there making these major cases, these big cartels that are smuggling guns, drugs, money,” Peña added. “And because of this whole immigration rhetoric — that immigrants are bad, that they’re criminals and rapists and all that — the focus is totally off mission.”

    Agents from the former Customs Service and Immigration and Naturalization service were forced into an uncomfortable relationship together within ICE in 2003, when the Bush administration created the Department of Homeland Security — the ICE parent agency — in 2003. HSI’s criminal investigators often overlap in duties with the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives — a situation that often leaves them fighting for funding.


    On three occasions since 2011, Homeland Security officials shifted HSI funds to other parts of ICE to cover the costs of civil immigration enforcement, including $34.5 million in 2016, according to the letter.


    https://www.texasobserver.org/ice-hs...ero-tolerance/
    Last edited by GeorgiaPeach; 06-28-2018 at 10:16 PM.
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  2. #2
    Super Moderator GeorgiaPeach's Avatar
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    Seeking a split from ICE, some agents say Trump’s immigration crackdown hurts investigations and morale



    June 28, 2018

    Nick Miroff

    The political backlash against U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has turned so intense that leaders of the agency’s criminal investigative division sent a letter last week to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen urging an organizational split.


    The letter, signed by the majority of special agents in charge of ICE’s Homeland Security Investigative Division (HSI), offered a window into growing internal tension at the agency as an “Abolish ICE” protest movement has targeted its offices and won support from left-wing Democrats.


    Though ICE is primarily known for immigration enforcement, the agency has two distinct divisions: Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO), a branch that carries out immigration arrests and deportations, and HSI, the transnational investigative branch with a broad focus on counterterrorism, narcotics enforcement, human trafficking and other crimes.

    The letter signed by 19 special agents in charge urges Nielsen to split HSI from ICE, because anger at ERO immigration practices is harming the entire agency’s reputation and undermining other law enforcement agencies’ willingness to cooperate, the agents told Nielsen.


    Since President Trump’s inauguration, the state of California and several of the country’s largest cities have barred their law enforcement agents from cooperating with ICE by declaring themselves “sanctuary” jurisdictions. That has made it increasingly difficult for HSI agents to fight drug cartels and conduct major criminal investigations in the country’s largest urban areas, the letter said.


    “The perception of HSI’s investigative independence is unnecessarily impacted by the political nature of ERO’s civil immigration enforcement,” the agents wrote.


    Trump took office promising to quickly deport “2 or 3 million” foreigners, and following his inauguration, ICE interior arrests jumped nearly 40 percent. In recent months, the agency resumed carrying out large-scale workplace raids, winning glowing praise from the president, who said Wednesday at a rally in North Dakota that ICE agents are “mean but have heart,” and that they are “liberating” U.S. communities from the MS-13 gang.


    Trump officials say they fear the transnational gang, whose members the president calls “animals,” could take advantage of lax enforcement at the border.


    In their letter to Nielsen, the agency’s top investigators painted a starkly different picture — telling her their crime-fighting capability is being stifled by politics.


    “Many jurisdictions continue to refuse to work with HSI because of a perceived linkage to the politics of civil immigration,” the investigators wrote. “Other jurisdictions agree to partner with HSI as long as the ‘ICE’ name is excluded from any public facing information.”


    In one indication of eroding morale, the special agents told Nielsen that making HSI its own independent agency “will allow employees to develop a strong agency pride.”


    The letter, marked “Law Enforcement Sensitive,” was first reported by the Texas Observer, which posted a copy.


    ICE’s acting director, Thomas D. Homan, has been a vocal Trump supporter and an enthusiast of the president’s immigration agenda. But he has announced his retirement and is stepping down this month. A nominee to replace him has yet to be named.


    Nielsen has not publicly responded to the letter.


    A senior ICE official in Washington said the HSI agents’ letter was “not well received” at the agency’s headquarters, calling it “ill conceived and poorly timed” at a moment when so many staffers feel besieged by the backlash.




    The proposal to reorganize ICE is not a new one, the official said, but it “has never been taken seriously” and would “require congressional action.”
    The senior official spoke on the condition of anonymity to candidly discuss reaction to the letter within ICE’s top ranks.



    The official conceded that the special agents’ arguments have “some merits.” adding, “the concerns they raise in the letter are certainly operational obstacles and worthy of discussion.”



    But the official called the notion of breaking up ICE “a non-starter” and said it was inappropriate for the agents to go outside established internal channels to take their gripes directly to Nielsen in a letter that quickly leaked to reporters.



    “Our employees are being protested, threatened and unfairly attacked,” the senior official said.


    The Abolish ICE movement has gained new momentum in recent weeks amid public outcry over the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” crackdown that separated more than 2,500 migrant children from their parents along the Mexico border. A federal judge this week ordered the government to reunite them with their parents — many of whom are currently held in ICE custody — within 30 days.


    In New York City this week, Democratic congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won an upset primary victory Tuesday after taking up the Abolish ICE cause as one of her campaign promises , while in Portland, Ore., protesters have set up a sprawling tent camp outside ICE’s local office.



    Devlin Barrett contributed to this report.




    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world...html?utm_term=.
    Last edited by GeorgiaPeach; 06-28-2018 at 10:18 PM.
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    But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    How are Jeff Sessions prosecutions going? Is there any good news anywhere from this clusterfvck?
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  4. #4
    MW
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    Quote Originally Posted by Judy View Post
    How are Jeff Sessions prosecutions going? Is there any good news anywhere from this clusterfvck?
    Ask Trump. He sort of tossed a monkey wrench in the works when he backed down to the whiners, complainers, and criers on the family separation issue. However, illegals without children are still being prosecuted in accordance with the "zero tolerance" policy. According to the following article, the issue of dealing with the families is being worked on as we speak.

    US Has Stopped Prosecuting Illegal Immigrant Families Detained At Border

    June 25, 2018 11:30 pm1



    The Trump administration has scaled back a key element of its zero-tolerance immigration policy amid a global uproar over the the separation of more than 2,300 migrant families, halting the practice of turning over parents to prosecutors for charges of illegally entering the country.

    Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan said Monday that President Donald Trump’s order last week to stop splitting immigrant families at the border required a temporary halt to prosecuting parents and guardians, unless they had criminal history or the child’s welfare was in question. He insisted the White House’s zero tolerance policy toward illegal entry remained intact.

    McAleenan’s comments came shortly after Attorney General Jeff Sessions defended the administration’s tactics in a speech in Nevada and asserted that many children were brought to the border by violent gang members.

    Together, their remarks added to the nationwide confusion as mothers and fathers struggled to reunite families that were split up by the government and sometimes sent to different parts of the country.

    Families are growing increasingly frustrated in trying to reunite with their children after weeks apart. A mother from Guatemala wiped tears from her eyes Monday as she told reporters in El Paso, Texas, about her 4-year-old son being taken away after they crossed the border. The boy ended up at a shelter in New York. When the mother contacted a social worker to speak with her son, she was told that the child was angry and didn’t want to talk because he believed his mother had abandoned him.

    The mother was one of five parents who described their ordeals to reporters in El Paso. Speaking Spanish and all wearing ankle bracelets, the parents said they have not been told when they will see their sons and daughters again.

    Addressing reporters in Texas, McAleenan said he stopped sending cases of parents charged with illegally entering the country to prosecutors “within hours” after Trump signed an executive order last week to cease the separations.

    The commissioner and Sessions insisted that the administration’s policy remains in effect, even though immigrant parents are no longer being prosecuted under the new guidelines McAleenan said he is working on a plan to resume prosecutions.

    “We can work on a plan where adults who bring kids across, who violate our laws, who risk their lives at the border could be prosecuted without an extended separation from their children,” he said. “We’re looking at how to implement that now.”

    White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders stressed that the administration’s reversal was only temporary because the government is running out of resources.

    “We’re going to run out of space,” she said. “We’re going to run out of resources to keep people together.”

    Providing a glimpse of relief, McAleenan said border apprehensions in June were trending “lower” from previous months but he declined to be more specific until numbers are released July 8.

    Speaking at a school-safety conference in Reno, Sessions cast the children as victims of a broken immigration system and urged Congress to act.

    While hundreds of protesters rallied outside a hotel-casino, the attorney general said more than 80 percent of children crossing the border arrive alone, without parents or guardians, and are “often sent with a paid smuggler. We can only guess how many never make it to our border during that dangerous journey.”

    He claimed the MS-13 gang “is recruiting children who were sent here as unaccompanied minors, and some are brought to help replenish the gang. And they are terrorizing immigrant schools and communities from Los Angeles to Louisville to Long Island to Boston. They are able to do so because we do not have a secure southwest border.”

    He said five children had been found at the border carrying a combined 35 pounds of fentanyl, the powerful synthetic opioid drug blamed for an epidemic of overdose deaths nationwide.

    Just outside the building where Sessions spoke, more than 200 protesters opposed to the administration’s immigration policies blocked a busy road. The coalition of civil rights, religious and union activists carried signs and drums and were joined by a mariachi band. Some sat in a busy roadway for while police diverted traffic around them. No arrests were reported.

    McAleenan’s remarks follow an announcement last week by the federal public defender’s office in El Paso that federal prosecutors would no longer bring criminal charges against parents entering the U.S. if they have their child with them.

    Amid the confusion, some Democratic members of Congress reiterated their frustrations that the Trump administration had not released its plan for reunifying families.

    Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut was among those who toured a shelter at the Tornillo border crossing in West Texas.

    “I think there is very, very powerful consensus on both sides of the aisle that reunification should be done immediately,” Blumenthal said. “These stories are gut-wrenching and heartbreaking of children 6 and 7 years old, separated from their parents, not know where they are and the parents not knowing where their children are.”

    U.S. defense officials said the administration had chosen two military bases in Texas to house detained migrants. The officials identified the bases as Fort Bliss and Goodfellow Air Force Base. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on the record about a pending announcement.

    As many as 2,300 children were separated from their migrant parents from the time the administration adopted the zero-tolerance policy until June 9, officials have said.

    The temporary shelter at Tornillo was close to its 360-person capacity. Reporters were allowed Monday to briefly visit the shelter, where more than 320 children ages 13 to 17 are being held in air conditioned tents. A facility administrator told reporters that the main complaint he hears from children on site is that the tents get too cold sometimes.

    About half were from Guatemala, and 23 of the children had been separated from adults who accompanied them across the border.

    Reporters were not allowed to enter any tents holding children. Two girls who stopped briefly in front of reporters said that they were doing well.

    The exact process to reunite families has been unclear because migrants are first stopped by Customs and Border Protection. Then children are transferred to the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services, while adults are detained through Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which is under the Department of Homeland Security.

    Justice Department officials have asked a federal judge to amend a class-action settlement that governs how children are treated in immigration custody. Right now, children can only be detained with their families for 20 days. Trump administration officials are seeking to detain them together indefinitely as their cases progress.

    https://www.theyeshivaworld.com/news...at-border.html

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