Tag Archives: ICE

ICE Hearing: Disappointing, But Expected

Ed Gonzalez testified before a Senate committee considering his appointment to lead the broken agency, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and he did exactly what he needed to do: Support bad policies while giving it a “compassionate” narrative. Disappointing, but expected.

For those who are sycophants, the clueless, or those who refuse to understand the reality of ICE and immigration policies, the ACLU response from their Senior Policy Counsel Naureen Shah was spot on:

“Today, Americans got a glimpse into the leadership Sheriff Ed Gonzalez would bring to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement should he be confirmed as director, and it was deeply disappointing. Gonzalez seemed more interested in placating anti-immigrant politicians on the committee than laying out a vision for reform. This was a huge missed opportunity to make it clear to immigrant families and communities that the Biden administration is truly committed to making a decisive break from the Trump administration’s racist and anti-immigrant policies.

“Gonzalez stated he does not intend to end the 287(g) program, an ICE program that taps local law enforcement to assist in deportations and that has a history of encouraging racial profiling and civil rights violations. This lack of commitment comes despite Gonzalez ending the program in Harris County, Texas during his time as sheriff and despite President Biden pledging on the campaign trail to end 287(g) agreements that were entered into under the Trump administration.

“When ICE taps local law enforcement to do federal immigration enforcement, public safety suffers because immigrants and their families cannot seek police protection or assist in investigations of serious crimes, for fear that it could lead to deportation of themselves or a loved one. Gonzalez understood this as sheriff of Harris County and, should he be confirmed, we will hold him accountable to President Biden’s promises to end dozens of these agreements.

“Additionally, Gonzalez did not lay out any plans for addressing systemic abuses by ICE, including the unnecessary and inhumane detention of thousands of people and ICE’s practice of using violence and masquerading as local police when conducting street arrests, which has led to Fourth Amendment violations.”

Yes, a lot that needed to be discussed was missing, but I’ve decided that these hearings are to exhibit your show horse, rather than to race it to show us what it’s got.

As ACLU stated, Gonzalez ended the 287(g) program in Harris County, but gave all credit to “budget issues” for ending it, rather than crediting discussions with migrant advocate groups and activists and his own supporters who would lobby him every time they caught his ear. (Me included.) Made one feel that community policing is a myth.

Anyway, the right-wingers found a way to attack and racially profile during the hearings and Gonzalez held his ground while placating their bigoted interests. Again, he did what was expected to get confirmed. Biden is the politician who must be held accountable, ultimately.

Sheriff Ed Goes To Washington?

First of all, congratulations to Sheriff Ed Gonzalez on his appointment by the Biden administration to the position of Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

I met Ed while he helped get Adrian Garcia elected Sheriff back in 2008 and then rooted him on when he ran for City Council District H to take over where Garcia left off. Intelligent, compassionate, and responsive are a few good words to describe him. All-around good guy is probably the better descriptor. Professionally, I’d expect him to do a great job in pretty much any capacity.

That said, ICE has had a lot of problems since way before Trump made it worse. It had problems during the Obama era, too. It is a relatively new agency created after the racism and bigotry that came about post-9/11. No one on either side in DC seems to want to get rid of ICE or the detention boondoggles that come from it. Reminder: While President Biden has banned private prisons in the Bureau of Prisons, he didn’t budge at all on immigrant warehousing and remains steadfast in warehousing children–just through another department.

Whether one points to ICE, or anything under ICE, like the Border Patrol, these agencies were created from racist sentiment and their practices are continually just as racist. It’s easy to say that structural change is needed, and that the culture of these agencies must be changed; however, no one person can do that without really taking a wrecking ball to the entire agency and creating something better. Simply changing a policy here and there will not rid the agency of its racist and corrupt practices. That’s why we say #AbolishICE.

Well, it is obvious that President Biden does not have this in the plan and Democrats are too damn squeamish to do anything about it. Unfortunately, that means Ed Gonzalez will be receive the brunt of criticism from both sides of the issue–those who desire change and compassion versus those who want to round-up and warehouse anyone brown or foreign with impunity and for profit. The centrists will argue for something in-between, but they aren’t the people who have been historically abused and targeted by ICE. The rest of us will just hope for the best and know that whatever happens, it is Joe Biden who is in charge.

And, with this said, a recent article regarding the Biden administration’s upcoming review of the extremist threat within Homeland Security (which includes ICE) gives some hope, as long as it is an honest and thorough assessment. Or, as DHS Secretary Mayorkas stated, “As we work to safeguard the nation and our values, we must be vigilant in our efforts to identify and combat domestic violent extremism within both the broader community and our own organization. Violent extremism has no place at DHS and we will work with urgency and focus to address it.”

Detention Watch Network said it best in regards to Gonzalez’s appointment:

“People uniting for the rights and dignity of immigrants will soon have a new face to direct demands to at ICE, which include:

  • Releasing people from immigration detention halting deportations (including Title 42 expulsions) amid the COVID-19 pandemic in the interest of the health of those detained and the public.  
  • Closing detention facilities, including immediately ending all contracts with private prison corporations and state and local governments as a first step towards ending the harmful detention system entirely.
  • Adopting generous prosecutorial discretion guidelines in order to protect as many people as possible from detention and deportation. 
  • Ending state and local entanglement with immigration enforcement, reducing the pipeline to detention and deportation.

“Under Gonzalez’s leadership, we are eager to see immediate shifts in ICE’s culture and operations. During the Trump era the agency saw a constant revolving door of short-lived, draconian leadership that double-downed on cruel and punitive enforcement practices. If confirmed, Gonzalez must hit the ground running to meet immigrant rights advocates’ demands and peel back the layers of secrecy that have created a deadly culture of impunity at the agency, where accountability is evaded at every turn.”

“And while we are looking for transformative culture change at ICE, we know that the racist underpinnings of ICE will continue regardless of who’s in charge.  Ultimately, ICE’s premise for existing is rooted in white supremacy, rendering the agency rotten to its core. ICE needs to be abolished.” 

Houston organizing group, FIEL, had this to say:

We have worked with Sheriff Gonzalez for a number of years and what we can attest to is the fact that he has been and continues to be a man who listens to and takes input from the community.  We understand that the role he is about to undertake is a huge and controversial role and we wish him well in this endeavour. However we have some things we would not like to see again such as massive raids, lack of prosecutorial discretion and continued separation of hard working families.  Some of the things that we hope to see in policy changes would be: 1. We would like a more just and uniform application of prosecutorial/administrative relief. 2. No more massive raids which send a shockwave of fear into our communities destroying community and government relations. 3. A definite end to the 287G program and Secure Communities which are policies that Sheriff Gonzalez understands hurt communities. 4. Treat people more humanely by suspending the use of ankle monitors for people who do not pose a flight risk. 5. Ending the ‘Collateral Damage’ policy when it comes to ICE enforcement in our communities. We are hopeful for a more positive future for ICE and at the end that we will see the agency’s power diminish as we move forward on immigration reform.

FIEL Press Release 4/27/2021

Obviously, when someone you know “makes it,” you can’t help but be excited for that person. ICE, though, is one of those agencies whose history reeks of hate, racism, corruption and more. While the leadership of the agency under Biden may say one thing, it is the rank and file and their bigoted Border Patrol union and associated groups that get more attention from the media and add to the bigotry already promoted by the Republican Party and white supremacists, thus roadblocking any change that is proposed. It is my hope that Director(-designate) Gonzalez is able to change the culture of the organization to one that is more compassionate in the realm of migration and that controls its messaging from the top. It is long past due that migrants be treated with compassion–in policy and rhetoric–rather than criminalized and hunted by the largest police force in the country.

Best of luck to Ed Gonzalez.

Si Llega ICE A Tu Puerta * If ICE Is At Your Door

Gracias a United We Dream por esta lista de derechos y recomendaciones si acaso llega ICE a tu Puerta.

1) NO ABRAS LA PUERTA

La migra solo puede entrar a tu casa con una orden de arresto emitida por un juez de la corte criminal, o si tu le abres la puerta. Dígale al oficial que pase la orden de arresto bajo la puerta o que la enseñe tras una ventana. ¡No abras la puerta!

2) GUARDA SILENCIO

La migra puede y usará cualquier cosa que digas en contra ti mismo en tu caso de inmigración. Es importante que te mantengas callado/a y hablar con un abogado. Simplemente dile al oficial de inmigración: “Quiero ejercer mi derecho bajo la quinta enmienda y decido mantenerme callado/a hasta que hable con mi abogado.”

3) NO FIRMES NADA HASTA HABLAR CON UN ABOGADO

Muchas veces, La Migra tratará de engañarte y hacerte firmar tu propia deportación. Esto se conoce como una ‘Voluntary Departure’ o ‘Deportación Voluntaria’. NO FIRMES NADA que te den sin hablar con un abogado primero.

4) GRABE TODO

Es importante tomar fotos y grabar video con tu celular a no ser que estes en propiedad del gobierno federal. Toma notas detalladas de números de placa, cantidad de oficiales, la hora, tipo de autos que usaron, y exactamente que paso. Reportantdo esta informacion nos ayudará a determinar si cualquier violación de derechos ocurrió en parte de la migra y también ayudará a exponer las tácticas manipuladoras que utiliza la migra para redondear y deportar a los inmigrantes.

5) REPORTE SU ENCUENTRO

United We Dream tiene una línea directa llamada MigraWatch para que nuestra comunidad pueda reportar la actividad de la migra. Haga su reporte llamando nuestra línea directa al 1-844-363-1423.

6) CONSIGUE AYUDA

Consigue un abogado de confianza y exploren todas las opciones para pelear su caso. Si es detenido/a, recuerde que tal vez pueda conseguir una fianza – no pierda la esperanza. Visite nuestros, compañeros, IMMI, para encontrar ayuda legal gratis o de bajo costo cerca de usted.

7) LUCHA

Otra manera de pelear tu caso, es unirte a una comunidad que está tras usted. Como la organización mas grande de la nación dirigida por jóvenes inmigrantes, United We Dream ha ayudado parar cientas de deportaciones. Manda un mensaje de texto que diga NosQuedamos al 877877 para luchar junta/o nosotros.

IN ENGLISH

1) Do Not Open Your Doors.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) cannot come into your home without a warrant signed by an immigration court judge. With your door shut, ask them to slide the signed warrant under the door or push it up against a window. They cannot come in unless you let them.

2) Exercise Your Right To Remain Silent.

I.C.E can and will use anything you say against you in court. It’s important for you to remain silent and ask to speak to your attorney. Simply tell the immigration officer: “I am exercising my fifth amendment right and choosing to remain silent until I speak to my attorney”.

3) Do Not Sign Anything Before Speaking to an Attorney.

Many times, I.C.E. and Customs and Border Protection (C.B.P.) will attempt to trick and make you sign your own deportation. This is also known as a voluntary departure. Do NOT sign anything that they give you without first speaking to an attorney.

4) Record Your Encounter.

It’s important to take photos and record video on your phone unless you are on federal government property. Take detailed notes of badge numbers, amount of agents, time, type of cars they used, and exactly what happened. Reporting this information will help us determine if any rights violation was made on behalf of the immigration agency and help us expose their rouge, manipulative tactics that they use to round up and deport immigrants.

5) Report Your Encounter.

United We Dream runs a hotline called the MigraWatch Hotline for people to report activity of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (I.C.E), Customs and Border Protection (C.B.P), or any other immigration agencies. Report the activity by calling this hotline at 1-844-363-1423.

6) Get Help.

Get a trustworthy attorney and explore all options to fight your case. If detained, remember that you might be able to get bail – don’t lose hope. Visit our partners, IMMI, to find free or low-cost legal help near you.

7) Fight Back.

Another way to fight back, is to join a community that has your back. As the largest immigrant youth-led network in the country, United We Dream has helped stop hundreds of deportations. Text HereToStay to 877877 to fight back alongside us.

Credit:  United We Dream

 

Cities Thumb Nose at SCOMM; ICE Review Almost Done

If you haven’t seen the news lately, well, it looks like state and local law enforcement agencies are telling President Obama and ICE that they will no longer be a part of his premier deportation program, Secure Communities. Over the President’s tenure, around 2,000,000 people have been deported–the vast majority because of low-grade crimes or no crime at all.

Today, the city of Philadelphia announced they were out. Maryland Gov. (and some say 2016 hopeful) Martin O’Malley announced the same earlier this week. Some counties in Oregon, too. All of this while the Obama Administration has announced it is considering changes to its deportation policies; ground activists demand deportation reform; and warehoused humans are on hunger strikes because of how private prisons treat them.

Secure Communities and other programs like 287(g) were developed for the purpose of capturing and deporting major criminals. A demand for increases in deportations from Republicans and President Obama’s flawed thinking that increasing deportations and human warehousing in private prisons would earn him Republican support for comprehensive immigration reform has made a deeply flawed program even worse. People with usually undeportable crimes or no crime record at all have fallen into the deportation net, families have been separated, tax dollars have been wasted on human warehousing, and for the President, his promise to pass “CIR” in Term 1, Year 1 (and now Term 2 Year 5) has been a complete failure.

All of this said, Reuters reported that President Obama is just about set to announce the results of a review of ICE’s deportation policies.

In the coming weeks, an Obama-ordered review of deportation enforcement at the Department of Homeland Security is expected to conclude that certain steps should be taken to ensure that some immigrants who have not committed serious crimes should be allowed to remain in the United States, according to several sources familiar with the review.

Those steps could include shortening the time period an immigrant is considered “new” and therefore under increased scrutiny for deportation, deeper background checks of detainees in considering whether they should be deported, and protecting immigrants serving in the U.S. military from deportation.

That would fall short of demands from immigration advocates who have asked Obama, among other things, to expand his deferred action program that currently protects children brought to the country by their undocumented parents.

Whatever President Obama announces will certainly be attacked by Republicans, so, why not go further than this? Of course, this is just what is heard from insiders. I guess we should wait for the actual announcement. For now, I’m glad local law enforcement agencies are ridding themselves of the burden and flaws offered by Secure Communities.

Thoughts on Viernes…02152013

The Prison-Industrial Complex In The News Again

A USA Today article on how Immigration and Customs Enforcement has pushed for increases in deportations caused a lot of ruckus today. What really caught the eye of folks, and as reported by Grassroots.org, was that the former Assistant Director of ICE who pushed for these increased deportations is now the EVP of GEO Group, a private prison corporation which gets a lot of government contracts to warehouse immigrants while they await deportation. GEO Group also does a lot of business in Texas, taking over local county jails and state prisons and doing a bad job of managing them, according to lawsuits filed against them.

Obviously, there are more than just contracts being transacted, since much of this not only takes government insiders-turned-private executives to get this done, it also take political money. And GEO Group’s PAC gives a nice sum of cash at every election cycle. DosCentavos did a little searching of the last couple of years on the Texas Ethics Commission and Federal Election Commission databases and after a little cutting and pasting found just who is getting the political money. For Federal candidates, click here. For Texas Lege candidates, click here. Yes, the list includes many beloved Dems who I hope return those checks–quickly.

Next week, GEO will announce its fourth quarter earnings, so we’ll get to see how good the return was on their PAC investments.

And since this thought dominated the Facebooks and Twitters today, I’ll leave it at that.