ICE reassigns 1000 enforcement agents

Washington Times:

Immigration and Customs Enforcement criminal investigators will no longer be involved in immigration work site enforcement or conduct checks for illegal alien prisoners.

Almost 1,000 ICE Office of Investigations agents will be reassigned exclusively to customs investigations, reducing the manpower involved in detention and removal of illegal aliens to 4,000 nationwide, according to documents obtained by The Washington Times and interviews with ICE union representatives.

ICE officials refused to comment on the internal documents or clarify the number of investigators that are to be reassigned.

The Washington Times has obtained an internal August memorandum written by ICE Office of Investigations Director Marcy Forman and Director John P. Torres, with Detention and Removal Operations (DRO), listing the new protocols for the agency.

Prior to the memorandum, the Office of Investigations worked hand in hand with Detention and Removal agents to remove and deport illegal alien absconders.

"[Detention and Removal] is a rapidly expanding program with the responsibility for ensuring that all removable aliens are detained in a safe environment and expeditiously removed from the United States. DRO has the responsibility for detaining and removing illegal aliens apprehended by ICE, [Customs and Border Protection] and, as resources allow, other law enforcement entities," states the Aug. 20 memo. "It is the vision of ICE for DRO to assume primary responsibility for non-investigative administrative arrests, for example, state and local law enforcement response to interdiction of immigration violators or probation and parole referrals."

...

The agency's interior enforcement strategy has long been criticized for not addressing the millions of illegal aliens living and working in the United States.

Since September 11, critics argue that the government has committed far too few resources and agents to the task. Adding to the problem, critics say, is the absence of real sanctions on employers who hire illegal aliens but rarely face charges or fines.

"Despite the costs, the country's interior-enforcement program historically has been neglected and understaffed," Michael W. Cutler, a retired U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Services senior agent and criminal investigator, told The Times in a 2004 article. "We have only been given the illusion of making a serious effort to enforce our immigration law."

...

With the removal of the criminal investigative agents from internal enforcement, "ICE will be left with 4,000 agents nationwide to handle the estimated 12 million people here illegally, and that's just not enough," said Mr. Brown, who is also an agent with the Fugitive Operation unit.

Rep. Ted Poe, Texas Republican and outspoken critic of lax immigration enforcement, said resources need to be allocated to ensure the removal of criminal illegal aliens from the U.S.

"It lacks wisdom to take 20 percent of your work force who know how to deal with criminal detainees — experienced officers — and make grapefruit inspectors out of them," Mr. Poe said.

...
The failure to explain this move is a mistake, because the logic of it is certainly not obvious as Congressmen Poe's comments indicate. I suppose it is possible that customs may need help looking for a specific threat that we have intelligence on and these guys would be a somewhat logical choice to help them in dealing with that threat. But, speculation can't replace reasoned explanations. It appears to me that the crackdown on employers is leading to self deportation and getting the kind of results that you would want and taking resources from that operation at this time better be for some emergency operation that is a serious threat or ICE will be looking pretty ridiculous.

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