IG re­port: Obama left de­por­ta­tion force in sham­bles.

D.C. of­fi­cers have 10,000 cases per per­son as­signed

The Washington Times Daily - - FRONT PAGE - BY STEPHEN DINAN

The Obama administration left the govern­ment’s de­por­ta­tion force in dis­ar­ray, ac­cord­ing to a new re­port Thurs­day from the Home­land Se­cu­rity in­spec­tor gen­eral. The re­port said de­por­ta­tion of­fi­cers are so over­loaded that they lose track of im­por­tant cases, leav­ing il­le­gal im­mi­grants roam­ing com­mu­ni­ties when they could have been kicked out.

The prob­lem is so bad that of­fi­cers may even be los­ing track of crit­i­cal na­tional se­cu­rity cases, the in­spec­tor gen­eral said.

The surge of il­le­gal im­mi­grants un­der Pres­i­dent Obama made the sit­u­a­tion worse, adding hun­dreds of thou­sands of cases to the docket, even though of­fi­cers weren’t given any new tools to help them deal with the back­log.

Of­fi­cers in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., av­er­age more than 10,000 cases per per­son, while de­por­ta­tion of­fi­cers in Atlanta have more than 5,000 cases as­signed to them.

“You might work 18 hours a day, but you still won’t get caught up,” one of­fi­cer told the in­spec­tor gen­eral.

The re­port could give am­mu­ni­tion to Pres­i­dent Trump, who has pro­posed a mas­sive “de­por­ta­tion force” to speed up the ar­rest and ouster of il­le­gal im­mi­grants, and who has called for a ma­jor ex­pan­sion in de­ten­tion beds, so more im­mi­grants can be held — mak­ing it eas­ier to de­port them.

U.S. Immigration and Cus­toms En­force­ment said it has more than 2.3 mil­lion mi­grants on its docket right now who are out in the com­mu­nity, rather than be­ing de­tained. Of those, nearly 1 mil­lion have al­ready gone through their court cases and have been or­dered re­moved.

“ICE pri­or­i­tizes cases on the non-de­tained docket to fo­cus on those with the great­est threat to na­tional se­cu­rity, pub­lic safety and bor­der se­cu­rity,” Jen­nifer D. Elzea, ICE’s press sec­re­tary, said in a

“The pres­i­dent is the best mes­sen­ger to turn out our vote. We want the pres­i­dent in­volved in every one of these spe­cial elec­tions.”

— Repub­li­can Na­tional Com­mit­tee Chair­woman Ronna Rom­ney McDaniel

state­ment.

De­port­ing an il­le­gal im­mi­grant re­quires get­ting the home coun­try to is­sue travel doc­u­ments — and that home coun­try is of­ten re­sis­tant, not want­ing to take back a trou­bled in­di­vid­ual. Over­loaded agents let those tricky cases slip, leav­ing il­le­gal im­mi­grants on the streets.

Two years ago that led to a worst-case sce­nario with a man from Haiti. Jean Jac­ques, who was re­leased from prison af­ter serv­ing time for at­tempted mur­der, but whose home coun­try re­fused to take him, ques­tioned whether he re­ally was Haitian.

Months af­ter he was re­leased, Jac­ques would go on to kill a young woman af­ter a drug dis­pute with her boyfriend.

The Jac­ques case spurred sev­eral re­views, in­clud­ing this new re­port from the in­spec­tor gen­eral that iden­ti­fied a se­ries of break­downs at ICE.

De­por­ta­tion of­fi­cers’ caseload in­cludes both im­mi­grants who are in de­ten­tion, and those that have been re­leased back into the com­mu­ni­ties, for var­i­ous rea­sons. Those in cus­tody are rel­a­tively easy to de­port, but those re­leased are tougher to man­age.

The in­spec­tor gen­eral said the surge of il­le­gal im­mi­grants un­der Pres­i­dent Obama fed the work over­load, but said ICE does a poor job of spread­ing the work around, leav­ing some of­fices worse-off than oth­ers.

The staffing short­age has been made worse by the Obama administration’s de­ci­sion to move of­fi­cers to the south­west to deal with the surge from Cen­tral Amer­ica, over­load­ing of­fices in the in­te­rior of the coun­try.

“In a par­tic­u­larly troubling ex­am­ple of over­worked staff, a [de­por­ta­tion of­fi­cer] at one field of­fice we vis­ited re­ported that a heavy work­load lim­ited over­sight of non-de­tained aliens in that geo­graphic area that ICE had flagged as risks to na­tional se­cu­rity,” the in­ves­ti­ga­tors said in the new re­port.

The au­dit found the prob­lem to be so bad that ICE is likely los­ing track of il­le­gal im­mi­grants.

“Un­less they ver­ify the sta­tus of immigration pro­ceed­ings, ICE [de­por­ta­tion of­fi­cers] may not know about aliens who fail to re­port for court ap­pear­ances and, thus, whose names should be for­warded to the fugi­tive op­er­a­tions unit. With­out check­ing on crim­i­nal his­tory, DOs may be un­aware of aliens who have com­mit­ted crimes and should be de­tained,” the in­spec­tor gen­eral said.

ICE also doesn’t have clear guid­ance for how cases should be pri­or­i­tized and man­aged, the in­spec­tor gen­eral said.

In its of­fi­cial re­ply to the re­port, ICE ac­cepted all five of the in­spec­tor gen­eral’s rec­om­men­da­tions, in­clud­ing up­dat­ing and is­su­ing guid­ance to of­fi­cers, re­jig­ger­ing its caseload, stan­dard­iz­ing training and try­ing to fig­ure out ways to work bet­ter with for­eign coun­tries.

Ms. Elzea, the ICE spokes­woman, said Mr. Trump has al­ready taken steps that could help on many of those ar­eas, in­clud­ing his early ex­ec­u­tive or­der call­ing for a tripling of ICE’s work­force and an ex­pan­sion of de­ten­tion space.

The pres­i­dent has also sig­naled that for­eign coun­tries that refuse to take back their il­le­gal im­mi­grants will face penal­ties in ex­ist­ing law. Mr. Obama and his pre­de­ces­sor, Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W. Bush, were re­luc­tant to use those pow­ers, say­ing it could harm in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions.

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