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The Thin Blue Line #BlueLivesMatter

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Obama Opportunity- ICE Follies or ICE Reform ?
bonzerwolf
"U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was established in March 2003 as the largest investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security. ICE is comprised of five integrated divisions that form a 21st century law enforcement agency with broad responsibilities for a number of key homeland security priorities"

The above BS is posted on all ICE press releases. This is the 5th version of  BS posted at the bottom of  ICE press releases in the five + years of ICE futility. But I must admit, this if by far the most lame yet the most accurate description of the agency that operates as "ICE Follies".

-ICE was established in 2003 as the largest investigative arm of DHS

When ICE started, it included many thousands of Customs Air Branch and Air Marshal employees as part of the agency. Both those employees and a the culture of criminal investigations have disappeared from ICE. The Air Marshal program is now under TSA and all the pilots and air officers are now part of CPB.   When ICE was initially formed, special agents from legacy INS and Customs actually conducted complex criminal investigations.  Now ICE is nothing more than an illegal alien detention and removal  outfit. The vast majority of ICE employees are now Detention & Removal Officers, Immigration Enforcement Agents and ABSA's (anybody but  special agents) whose primary duties are detention and removal rather than investigative.   ICE is an agency dominated by the mission of Detention & Removal Operations (DRO).  In 2008 the most publisized ICE Office of Investigation "cases" were either "administrative arrest" dominated dog and pony shows  or ICE  made for media circuses resulting in  "criminal arrests" of Hispanic laborers. The majority of ICE criminal charges in 2008 were Federal social security and Federal Trade Commission violations that resulted in "time served" sentences when the media coverage ended.  ICE spent many millions of dollars on these well publicized meat packing plant raids all over the USA.

The strongest push ICE management made to protect the Homeland from radical Islamic terrorists was the  suggestion that agents close out their "visa overstay" investigations in less than 40 hours.  Management didn't care if agents actually located and deported the illegal aliens from "special interest" countries. Agents were advised to report that all leads had been exhausted and close the cases in offices all over the country. That message was allegedly passed down the line from Director of Investigations Marcy Foreman to Special Agents in Charge, including John Chakwin in Dallas.  Chakwin emphatically passed these instructions on to his group supervisors during a meeting.  Dallas group supervisor, Ric Manriquez insisted that the special agents assigned to work Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) in his group, close their cases within 37 hours.  To their credit, the agents refused to follow Manriquez illegal order. In fact, most group supervisors quietely refused to pass those illegal and dangerous instructions on to their agents.  Manriquez later denied he received that order from Chakwin or told his agents to close their cases in less than 37 hours.  Marcy Foreman later felt it necessary to issue a written memo to every SAC, denying the allegations, after they were reported nationally by Debbie Schlussel.

-ICE is comprised of five integrated divisions

The Office of Investigations is ONE of the five divisions. In fact 4 of the 5 "integrated" divisions of ICE DO NOT conduct criminal investigations. ICE management acknowledges that only one fifth (20%) of ICE is an "investigative arm" within the Department of Homeland Security.
  • Office of Detention and Removal Operations (DRO)
  • Office of Investigations (OI)
  • Office of Federal Protective Service (FPS)
  • Office of Intelligence
  • Office of International Affairs (OIA)
-ICE is a 21st Century law enforcement agency with broad responsibilities for a number of key DHS security priorities.

Calling ICE a 21st century "Law Enforcement" agency is not the same as saying ICE is a  21st century "Criminal Investigation" agency.  Your state's Weights and Measures Division is technically a "law enforcement" agency.  I suppose looking for bad shocks and struts could be called an "investigation".  But looking for something or someone illegal does not qualify a person occupy a Series 1811 criminal investigator position under current federal law.  Is ICE bragging that the agency is no longer a 20th century law enforcement agency?   In spite of the draconian management by machete style at ICE, this 2009 not 1949.  In fact every single law enforcement agency on earth, including ICE,  is now a "21st "century agency. But implying that ICE is  "progressive"  in any shape, form or fashion would qualify for the "Top Ten"  greatest lies ever told in my lifetime.

What are the security priorities that ICE brags about enforcing?  DETENTION & REMOVAL OF ILLEGAL ALIENS inside of the United States.  That's it. There is the ONLY mission not on life support at ICE in 2009. The FBI or some other agency has taken over all the investigative programs and terrorist related investigations of the former Customs Office of Investigations.  The criminal investigative priorities of legacy INS are not part of the current ICE management plan. 

Should TAXPAYERS be paying GS/13 Special Agents in excess of $100,000 a year to round up and deport  Hispanic aliens illegally present in the United States?  CBP pays  Border Patrol Agents half that amount to apprehend illegals before they make it into the interior.  Does it really take thousands of overpaid ICE special agents to locate, arrest and process illegal Hispanic aliens living and working in the interior of the United States? Can't GS/7 Immigration Enforcement Agents and GS/12 DRO Fugitive Ops agents perform this function more efficiently in a more cost effective manner?    Illegal aliens are located in practically every city and town in this country except for the state of West Virginia. Lets face it, illegal aliens aren't exactly difficult to find in the USA. It's not like they are hiding out!   Most of us cross paths with and/or encounter illegal aliens on a daily basis.

If the Obama Administration is to be taken seriously, one of the first government reorganizations should be ICE.  Upon written request, all journeymen special agents at ICE should immediately be transferred to the federal criminal investigative agency of their own choosing if  openings are available at those agencies . All the federal criminal investigative agencies are now at the GS/13 journeymen grade level, including ICE.  All the journeymen agents at ICE are GS/13 criminal investigators, the same as the FBI, Secret Service, DEA, ATF,  Inspector General Offices and all other series 1811 criminal investigators. Obviously these positions are interchangeable, as that is how ICE was created in 2003 and DEA was started in 1973.  Both included the merger of Customs special agents with Department of Justice special agents.  Happy and content workers who respect themselves and their agency are much more productive and will make our country safer. These agents could do more to protect the security of the United States in a month, than they have done in five years under the "dumbing down" of Mother ICE.  Any journeyman agent who wants to remain with ICE should be allowed to stay in the reformulated Immigration & Criminal Enforcement agency.  The GS/5 - GS/12 ICE agents should remain at the mercy of " the needs of the service". After all, they voluntarily signed up for ICE.

Of course, current ICE management should be REQUIRED to stay behind at ICE.  ICE will be over staffed at first but the managers who are not forced to retired could easily move into DRO management positions as they become open. Most of the quality ICE/ OI management staff has retired or transferred to other agencies. Dallas, a small SAC office has lost TWELVE (that's a dozen) GS/14&15 managers under the stewardship SAC John Chakwin Jr. Only one was eligible for immediate retirement. The remainder of the departed managers moved to various other ICE offices or other government agencies. The long list included Assistant Special Agents in Charge, Group Supervisors and even one Deputy Special Agent in Charge. The DSAC has stated that called John Chakwin Jr., was the biggest asshole he ever worked for! Keep in mind,  Dallas is a small ICE office with only ten group supervisors.  Yet Chakwin was recently "promoted" to an SES SAC. Bonzer Wolf will detail that injustice in the near future.  

Current ICE management is the cancer at ICE. This cancer can not under any circumstances be allowed to infect the other criminal investigative agencies within the federal government. 

Will ICE change in 2009?  Our President Elect tells us that all things are possible under his leadership and this is a prime opportunity for Mr. Obama.  The longest journey begins with the first step.  Boots, start walk'in!

     


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A very good review of the history of ICE. It's a shame that so many good agents are doing a Don Quioxte immitation, titling at windmills. They are trying to accomplish the old Customs mission when there is a management in place that prevents that from happening. The suggestions here are good. I'd like to see the old Customs OI mission transferred to CBP and leave ICE as immigration only. Just another of many problems for the Barack administration to address.

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