The Problem at Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Organizations, whether in the public sector or private sector, tend to issue press releases for many purposes, but most often it is for public relations.

Federal agencies, including ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), routinely issue press releases that tout their successes to convince the public that the money that is appropriated by Congress has been well spent.

I plan to periodically write commentaries to dissect significant ICE press releases and shed light on the truth behind those press releases. The most effective weapon we have in our arsenal to make our government accountable is the ability to ask the best questions we can. Questions are most impactful when they are based on knowledge and, indeed, it has been said that you can more readily determine the intelligence of a person by the questions he/she asks rather that the answers that the person provides.

Considering the number of illegal aliens present in the United States today, especially aliens engaged in criminal and gang-related crimes and the availability of heroin and cocaine on the streets of towns and cities across the United States, it is obvious that “border security” is a more outlandish oxymoron than the late George Carlin’s “Jumbo shrimp” or my personal favorite, “Heroic play.” (How on earth can you be a “hero” when you are playing?)

I routinely review the press releases that the DOJ, DHS, ICE and CBP post. Because these press releases are usually little more than propaganda I have come to refer to my visits to their websites as “dumpster diving.”

Occasionally law enforcement officers dig through the trash cans left at the curb by individuals or organizations that are under investigation, to seek evidence. Similarly, reviewing these press releases may open a window into the operations of these law enforcement agencies and into the strategies that the administration employs to mislead us.

On March 9, 2015 ICE issued a press release, “2,059 convicted criminals arrested in ICE nationwide operation.” The press release we are examining today focused on the sixth and latest installment of “Operation Cross Check.” Over a four day period that began on March 1, 2015 and ended on March 5, 2015 reportedly resulted in the arrest of 2,059 criminal aliens from 94 countries. Among the countries noted in the press release were Jamaica, Poland, Finland and Mexico.

Reportedly the five previous operations under the aegis of “Operation Cross Check” netted 13, 214 arrests.

On the surface the press release certainly paints a picture of achievement. I absolutely laud the agents at ICE who made those arrests and took some truly dangerous aliens off the streets, thereby protecting the residents of the communities in which these criminals lived and operated. We must not blame the valiant but extremely frustrated law enforcement personnel of ICE or other law enforcement agencies for the failures of leadership of their respective agencies. There is an old Yiddish expression that says, “When the fish goes bad, it smells from the head!”

Those agents understand, perhaps better then anyone, how important their jobs — that they are most often not really allowed to do effectively — are to our nation and our citizens. On a personal note, I will never forget the feelings of satisfaction I enjoyed after I arrested aliens who had engaged in violent crimes, engaged in the drug trade or were involved in terrorism-related crimes. I recall many nights driving over the Brooklyn Bridge on my way home in the middle of the night, having lodged a criminal in jail, seeing the darkened windows of the apartment houses and private homes on my way home, thinking that while my fellow New Yorkers slept my colleagues and I from the INS and other law enforcement agencies had made New York that much safer.

However, before you break out the bottle of champagne and call your friends over to celebrate the “achievements” being reported in the ICE news release we are examining today, we will see, shortly, that this one step forward was preceded by many steps backwards.

This is why it is vital to read between the lines and compare what is claimed in these optimistic press releases and how assertions of success square with cold, hard reality.

Sometimes the authors of the press releases that could be filed under the “Fiction Section” find that just as they cannot exceed the speed of light, as Einstein postulated, they also cannot outrun the speed of their own B.S!

The news release that we are examining provides an incredible example of how, to twist a phrase, “They can write, but they cannot hide!” As Founding Father John Adams famously remarked, “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclination, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”

Consider that just three days after issuing that optimistic press release about the arrest of more than 2,000 criminal aliens, on March 12, 2015 that Yahoo News posted an Associated Press report, “15 immigrants protected from deportation arrested in sweep.”

Here are key excerpts from this report:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal agents in a sweep targeting the most dangerous criminal immigrants arrested 15 people who have been allowed to remain in the U.S. under President Barack Obama’s executive action intended to protect children who came to the U.S. years ago with their parents, The Associated Press has learned.

It was not immediately clear when 13 of the immigrants were convicted or what their crimes were. They were arrested by U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement. The answers to those questions could undermine the integrity of the government’s program, since eligibility is reserved for ambitious, young immigrants enrolled in school or who graduated and who would benefit American society.

None of the names of the immigrants was disclosed. One of the young immigrants arrested hadn’t been convicted of a crime, but was arrested after being found armed with a gun, the official said.

Homeland Security spokeswoman Marsha Catron said eight other people arrested during the sweep had received the protective status at one point, including three who had it revoked. Catron did not provide additional details.

Under the program, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, more than 675,000 young immigrants since August 2012 have been granted a work permit and reprieve from deportation.

“With few fraud detection measures and effective background checks in place, it’s no surprise that ICE arrested over a dozen DACA recipients last week, most of whom had already been convicted of a crime,” said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte. “I and other members of the House Judiciary Committee have expressed concern about this for years.”

Goodlatte, R-Va., and other Republicans have long decried Obama’s executive immigration as a form of backdoor amnesty that circumvents Congress.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said the case “sheds light on what appears to be a haphazard and risky vetting process by an administration that is very interested in finding creative and possibly unconstitutional ways for people to stay in the country.”

Catron said U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services “is examining these cases to determine the appropriate course of action, which may include a denial or termination of deferred action.”

The sweep also captured five immigrants with protective applications pending and 19 others who had already been denied protection from deportation under the program.

Earlier this week ICE Director Sarah Saldana said the operation focused on “the worst of the worst criminals.”

“This was a targeted enforcement operation, aimed specifically at enhancing public safety,” Saldana said. “It exemplifies our core mission, by taking dangerous criminals off the streets and removing them from the country we are addressing a very significant security and public safety vulnerability.”

In November, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson announced new deportation priorities as part of Obama’s planned expansion of programs to shield millions of immigrants from deportation.

What is truly significant about the AP news report was noted by both Representative Bob Goodlatte, the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, and Chuck Grassley, the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is that they noted a lack of integrity to the adjudications process of applications at USCIS. This lack of integrity and the lack of deterrence against fraud, an issue hammered by the 9/11 Commission, have been the focus of many of my articles and my testimony before a number of Congressional hearings. To provide an example of one of my recent articles about my concerns, on March 9, 2015 The Daily Caller published my commentary, “Congress Has Fully Funded The DHS — America’s Biggest Document Mill.”

It is vital to bear in mind that these failures would undermine the integrity of any massive amnesty program such as Comprehensive Immigration Reform which, in turn, would undermine national security.

Also, it is important to note that while the administration claims that some of these “protected” aliens had their status revoked, it is apparent that nothing had initially been done to locate them based on the revocation of their DACA applications. This failure to seek to arrest aliens who file applications that are subsequently denied encourages fraud. There are no negative consequences for an alien who files an application that is ultimately denied.

Getting back to the press release, while there has been much emphasis placed on securing the U.S./Mexican border, there is no information as to how all of these criminal aliens from nearly 100 countries entered the United States. It is likely that many of them did not enter without inspections by running that border that is supposed to separate the United States from Mexico.

However, no information was provided as to how many of these criminal aliens may have entered by having been admitted at a port of entry with a visa or under the auspices of the wrong-headed and dangerous Visa Waiver Program.

These other failures of the immigration system motived my February 5, 2015 article for FrontPage Magazine, The ‘Secure Our Border First Act’ Deception — Why it’s no solution to the immigration crisis.

The press release focused on four examples of criminal aliens who had been arrested. These four had been arrested in Georgia, Connecticut, Illinois and Colorado. This again raises the issue of the so-called four “border states.” As I have noted repeatedly, the United States has 50 border states and when aliens run our borders they do not do so the way that Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and the other Apollo astronauts went to the moon. These aliens are not content to simply set foot on our side of the border, grab a few rocks, plant a flag and head for home — they quickly put the U.S. border behind them (literally) and head for cities across our vast nation.

The first question that needs to be asked is, “How did these aliens enter the United States in the first place?” If they were able to enter the United States via the inspections process it would be important to know if any measures have been taken to evaluate the effectiveness of the screening process conducted by the CBP (Customs and Border Protection) Inspectors and determine if perhaps the admissions process could do a more effective job of preventing the entry of criminal aliens in the first place. For example, perhaps it could be shown that the Visa Waiver Program made it too easy for criminal aliens to enter the United States.

It has been said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” If DHS could do a better job of preventing the entry of criminal aliens and terrorists in the first place, America and Americans would be far better off.

There is an important point that must also be made at this time — while we are constantly told that Comprehensive Immigration Reform would be favored by “Latino voters,” a term that demonstrates a disgusting and wrong-headed form of racial profiling, the reality is that these aliens who were taken into custody during “Operation Cross Check” did not all come from Mexico or even Latin America. This assertion that the way to appeal to Latino voters is to provide lawful status and official identity documents to unknown millions of illegal aliens from countries across the planet who snuck into the country creates the outrageous illusion that Americans of Latino ethnicity favor lawlessness and that anyone who has an apparent Latino name is an illegal alien or has relatives who are illegal aliens.

This is not only a statement of bigotry and racism but impugns the integrity and sacrifices of millions of American citizens who may well be multi-generational Americans whose family members may have made tremendous sacrifices, indeed, perhaps, the “ultimate sacrifice” in defense of our nation.

The press release noted that many of these aliens had been convicted of committing felonies. They had spent time in prison — yet there was no mention made as to where these aliens were arrested. Were they taken into custody by ICE agents in the prison or were they released onto the street and subsequently arrested by ICE at their homes, places of employment or somewhere else?

If they were not arrested in the prison where they had been confined, the obvious followup question is, “Why were they released from prison and turned loose and not held for ICE agents to take them into custody?”

As a follow-up to the previous question, the press release noted that more than 1,000 of these criminal aliens had multiple criminal convictions. The obvious question is, “Were these multiple convictions the result of the same arrest or were they arrested and convicted more than once?” The point here is that if an individual, for example, is arrested simultaneously for possession of a firearm and possession of drugs, he/she would have multiple charges and convictions. However, if an individual was arrested, successfully prosecuted and then released from prison onto the street, only to be arrested at a later date for an additional crime(s), the question that must be asked is, “Why did ICE not take that alien into custody after the first arrest and conviction upon completing whatever jail sentence might have been imposed?”

The press release noted that five of these aliens were wanted fugitives who had failed to depart from the United States as ordered. It is truly doubtful that they missed their flights at the airport.

This raises the question: Why were these criminal aliens released from custody by ICE in the first place, only to have to be sought and arrested again by ICE? In fact, when asking about who may have released aliens from custody, the issue that must be raised is the administration’s outrageous policy of releasing aliens, including criminal aliens from custody, blaming the sequestration of funding by Congress.

At the beginning of my commentary I made note of the administration taking “many steps backwards.” The release of tens of thousands of criminal aliens on the flimsy and patently absurd claim that this was the fault of the Congress and funding sequestration, represents those many steps backwards to which I referred. Indeed, each and every criminal alien needlessly released equals a giant step backwards for public safety and deterrence to dissuade additional criminal aliens from seeking to enter the United States to ply their “trades” in towns and cities across our nation, thereby victimizing ever so many innocent victims including, most often, members of various ethnic immigrant communities.

On February 27, 2013 I discussed the issue of the administration’s release of criminal aliens when I was a guest on “Your World With Neil Cavuto.” A video of this segment was posted on the Fox News website under the title, “Release of many illegal immigrants as automatic cuts loom; Former INS special agent weighs in.”

During my brief discussion with Neil, I had predicted that after the administration released criminal aliens ICE would, at some future time, mount a massive field operation to recapture these same aliens, and issue a press release touting the arrest of aliens who had previously been in custody.

Furthermore, On March 31, 2014 The Daily Caller published the disconcerting article, “Report: Obama administration released 68,000 convicted criminal aliens last year.”

This brings up the question, “Were any of these aliens, whose arrests were touted in the ICE news release, among those released under the administration’s lame excuse of funding sequestration?”

The term “Catch & Release” became a well-known expression to describe how, for years, the Border Patrol apprehended illegal aliens, turned them lose and while the Border Patrol took credit for those arrests, fewer than 10% of those released showed up at immigration offices and at immigration courts when ordered to do so. (Those who did show up usually had some sort of claims of entitlement to lawful status.)

What is not generally known by the American public as that this same program of “Catch and Release” has passed for “business as usual” for the interior enforcement program, such as it is, where ICE is concerned and was actually commonplace at the former INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service).

In reviewing the nature of the crimes some of these aliens engaged in, it is obvious that at least some of them had a history of committing sex offenses and other crimes of violence- hardly “victimless crimes.” When criminal aliens are released from prison and put out on the street, public safety is compromised.

The followup to this question is, “Were any people injured or assaulted by any of these criminal aliens who had been turned lose onto the streets either by local or state law enforcement agencies including prisons or even by ICE before ICE agents arrested them again?”

Recently, Congress saw fit to fully fund DHS claiming that they had to continue to fund the agency to protect America and Americans. The obvious question you should, by now, be able to answer for yourself, “Are we really getting our money’s worth from this dysfunctional agency that clearly suffers from so many serious problems and deficiencies that have caused me to refer to DHS as the “Department of Homeland Surrender.

America and Americans are bleeding both red (blood) and green (money) as a result of the failures of the DHS and the outrageous policies of the administration and we must make our government accountable. This all begins by knowing the right questions to ask and demanding honest answers.

Often the mere act of asking questions, especially insightful, fact-based questions, serves to put our politicians on notice that we are not as dumb or compliant as they hoped were were!

My folks raised me to believe that I would determine how I would be treated by demonstrating what I was willing to accept from those I had to deal with. We the People must make certain that we send a clear and unambiguous message to those we elect to represent us.

SOURCE: FRONT PAGE MAGAZINE

 

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