Are the Wheels Falling Off DHS’s Immigration Enforcement Wagon?

Written by on April 6, 2011 in Enforcement with 4 Comments

Over the last few weeks, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano has been on an enforcement tour defending the Administration’s record on border enforcement while criticizing conservative lawmakers’ “enforcement-first” legislative strategy (Napolitano has repeated called on lawmakers to stop “moving the goal posts”). Calling out  legislators for using the border as an excuse to stall immigration reform is important, but maybe Secretary Napolitano should take a serious look at the egregious enforcement actions taking place right under her nose. Yesterday in Michigan, ICE agents apparently followed immigrants from their homes to a nearby elementary school where they were dropping off their children.

According to the Detroit Daily News, six ICE agents surrounded Hope of Detroit Academy (an elementary school) last week, trapping parents inside for nearly an hour. ICE left the school area, but later arrested at least two parents in warrantless stops outside the school. According to the Alliance for Immigrant Rights & Reform Michigan (AIR), the fact that ICE was even at the school violates ICE’s own policies:

ICE’s own policies explicitly prohibit these type of intimidation tactics near schools and places of worship, except in extreme circumstances and with prior authorization from headquarters.

Today, roughly 120 people gathered outside the school to protest ICE’s actions and demand a stop to the profiling of Hispanic residents. State Rep. Rashida Tlaib, who attended the protest, criticized the agency for “causing chaos in Metro Detroit’s most thriving community.” AIR director, Ryan Bates, said ICE’s recent action follows a “pattern of abuse.”

In response, ICE issued a statement today admitting that “elements of the operation appear to have been inconsistent with policy and our standards and priorities” and promised to take “appropriate steps” if an internal review reveals that procedures were violated.

Sadly, this is hardly an isolated incident. Last month, Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) deported 4-year-old Emily Ruiz, a U.S.-born citizen and resident of New York, to Guatemala after her grandfather was flagged for a previous illegal entry at the airport. According to the family’s lawyer, “a border agent gave Emily’s dad two choices over the phone: she could be held at juvenile facility in Virginia or go back to Guatemala with her grandfather.” Her father, who said he was never told he could come and pick her up, chose for her to return to Guatemala for fear that she would be put up for adoption should she be held in the U.S. Emily has since been returned to her family.

Clearly, surrounding an elementary school and deporting U.S. citizen children is not listed anywhere under DHS’s comprehensive enforcement strategy. And at this point, an internal review of whether agents followed protocol seems like a weak afterthought. Perhaps the Administration needs to spend more time focusing on oversight and smarter enforcement policies—policies that don’t devastate U.S. families and communities—rather than touting a record number of deportations.

Photo by claydevoute.

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  • Herlinda Jacobo- Roque

    I am with the organization of Latin americans in Hawaii I work as a avocet for immigrant family’s we are dealing with manny family’s that are facing this same problems here in Hawaii parents being deported and there children in school when the children get home there lift alone for days befor we find tham what are we going to do how do we stop this many children end up in the CPS services child protective services lost with out there family’s I am determined to help

  • Herlinda jacobo roque

    STOP FAMILY SEPARATIONS Orgenization of Latin Americans in Hawaii Immagration agents picking up women at grocer store living there children with out parents ins agents deporting papents even after bing notified that there children are at home alone with 14 year sister this is what is going on in Hawaii manny more husbands being deported living wifes to suffer with not means of support for there children STOP THIS INHUMAIN TREATMENT

  • Gail

    I am appalled!! So much for hope and change!

    “Hope”, one of Obama’s 2008 election campaign slogans, exemplifies the double-speak the Obama administration continues to use.

    Obama is trying to pin all of this on the unco-operative Republican party, but I do not beleive it is going to work this time in the election.

    If President Obama does not keep his promise to enact CIR, I know for a fact that people will not be voting for him.

    A lot of my friends who are die hard Republicans changed their VOTE to Obama solely based on the fact that he PROMISED CIR IN THE FIRST 100 DAYS!!!! We have professional friends who are affected by this stupid broken system and we all rallied around Obama to get their situation fixed.

    So here we are three years later and now he is still spouting need Republicans to agree when he had a full Democratic HOUSE AND SENATE and he did not do it.
    President Obama is hailed as such an inteligent President, in fact supposedly the smartest one yet (!) SUrely he cannot honestly think that this will be accepted?? If he does then I am afraid he is not too smart.

    He really just cannot truly believe that people who are suffering everyday and have been suffering now for the last three years not seeing their children or husbands and being terribly affected by these raids and deportations when they have not committed any crimes, are suffeing each day. EACH DAY A NIGHTMARE!!!

    I think he might get the vote if he enact CIR SOON!!!! People will be so grateful, but i do not beleive people will buy into more empty promises when he had such a perfect opportunity to get this done and creating such goodwill and gratefulness, that they will vote and he will be a beloved President forever and go down in history as the President who made it happen and kept his promise! Unusual! A politician keeping a promise!!

    Now to be going on about the BAD REPUBLICANS being the spoke in the wheel, is just not going to fly.

    I am sure he cannot believe that we are that stupid!? People who are affected by this issue knows EXACTLY what is going on because they are hanging onto every little thread that might smell of a promise being kept on CIR, so people know what is going on and can see that he is using CIR as that golden carrot for votes in 2012 – NOT GOING TO HAPPEN!!!!!


  • Corina Florez

    ICE is ruthless, they are a bunch of hotheads who play commando eveytme they are given a chance. Mrs. Napolitano needs to wake up and smell the coffee. Her agents are a bunch of bullies. Their scare tacticcs are really mean. Like parking in a hotel/ mall area to intimidate patrons. I was a conference and for the 3 days i was there the trucks were parked there with no one actually moving them. Even if this was a “secure” place for them to park …they manage to scare folks away. Driving through neighborhoods or small towns is enough to put the community in chaos. The deportation measured they use are not human and the worst part that local redneck cops are now playing ICE as well!!!!! This is really outrageos, Give a small town cop that power and he thinks he is All THAT! Mrs. Napolitano we are living in fear, I am a USC but my skin is brown and I live in fear of the racial profiling these jerks use as a tactic for “enforcement” , do something… dont just act like you Do!!!!!