May 5, 2006, - 12:23 pm

No Sale: Fed Up Immigration Agents Respond to ICE Princess’ Empty Bluster

By Debbie Schlussel
Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) Agents who contacted us did not believe a word of ICE chieftess Julie L. Myers’ much-hyped speech, yesterday. It was more of the same fertilizer and hyperbole, they told us.
Bottom line for America: It’s just a waste of taxpayer time and money, promoting tough talk about stemming the tidal wave of illegal aliens. But more of the same behavior to the contrary.
In fact, one agent said The ICE Princess’ immigration enforcement rhetoric in yesterday’s speech employed so much bluster, you’d think she was Tom Tancredo. Instead, she acts like the anti-Tancredo, forcing agents to release illegal alien workers without verifying their IDs and forcing Detention & Removal Operations to release illegal aliens to make room for her well-televised show arrests of illegals from IFCO systems (most of whom were since released).

juliemyers.jpgfertilizer.jpg

Yup, the fertilizer was out in full force.
Here is the first of two good analyses of her speech, which we received from ICE agents:

I am a former INS employee now in ICE. I didn’t see the speech, but I did read the transcipt that came out today. There’s one part where she talked about the reputation ICE has built up for itself over the past three years, and that was all that I could handle. The reputation we’ve got is unresponsive at best and
obstructionist at worst, but I don’t think that’s quite what she was talking about.
The priorities seemed to have very little to do with immigration. It’s always the missions of the other components that got swept into ICE, after the trademark part about all the swell people she met on her most recent trips.
It’s actually kind of funny in a way, because INS people always asked each other, with typical gallows humor, how things in our agency could get any worse.
Now we know.

Here’s the second one:

Debbie,
I’m sure someone has already sent you a copy of the propaganda Julie read today. Although she may believe it, it was the big pile of manure you expected. She regaled us with her tales of travel around the country (which she quickly tired of and stopped) and dropped a few names from all the programs in ICE to let us know she cares about each program. She also sounded like Tom Tancredo talking about how tough we were getting in enforcing immigration laws.
But, what doesn’t come out in the speech is that between her and the rest of the agency is the great Customs Triumvirate of John Clark
[DS: ICE Deputy Assistant Secretary], Gary Lang [DS: ICE Chief of Staff], and Marcy Forman [a/k/a “Peppermint Patty“] and this rhetoric that she spewed for the press gets translated into “We are a Customs Investigations agency and if you’re anything but a legacy Customs investigator, you’re nothing.” FPS is a complete outsider that has only lost money into the black hole of the ICE finance world. DRO, the program that was poised to take on the immigration enforcement for ICE, has been relegated to a red-headed stepchild with a trust fund. Folks like [DS: Name and location of innocent, hard-working ICE agent redacted to protect him/her from persecution by ICE “leadership”–which hates the innocent & hard-working] are considered persona non grata because they want to do their job. Your real story shouldn’t be about Julie, but about those that are really running the agency – into the ground.

****
Note: I’m not taking sides on the Customs v. INS thing here. Both have their points, which is why I never supported the merger and wish they were separate again. I did not get responses about The ICE Princess’ speech from the Legacy Customs agents, which mention their former agency. (If I did, I’d post the best of those, too.)

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9 Responses

Didn’t Congress abolish the INS? But yet INS employees received a 14,000 dollar raise with the merger and yet are complaining? Am I missing something here?
The INS was the disfunctional agency. Not Customs. Customs was one of the most well run, efficient law enforcement organizations that had respect among local, state, and other federal agencies. The reason that ICE is in disarray now is due to the fact that we inherited a no-win mission (immigration) where the politicians in this country have setup for total failure. The INS is in no way worse off than it was before, however Customs is.
I, MYSELF, AM NOT TAKING SIDES ON THE CUSTOMS V. INS THING HERE. BOTH AGENCIES HAD THEIR POINTS, AS DO THEIR LEGACY AGENTS, WHICH IS WHY I NEVER SUPPORTED THE MERGER AND WISH THEY WERE SEPARATE AGAIN, WHEN EACH DID THEIR BEST WORK. I DID NOT GET RESPONSES ABOUT THE ICE PRINCESS’ SPEECH FROM LEGACY CUSTOMS ICE AGENTS, WHICH MENTIONED THEIR FORMER AGENCY. (IF I DID, I’D CERTAINLY POST THE BEST OF THOSE, TOO.)
DEBBIE SCHLUSSEL

ICEAGENT on May 5, 2006 at 1:32 pm

Well I read the speech, and it is not pro Customs or Pro Immigration. It’s just a hurrah, go team ICE type of speech that is typical in the federal government. It states that there are 4 big priorities in ICE right now, the top being immigration, second financial, third arms and strategic, and fourth narcotics.
Again, I don’t necessarily fault the leadership at ICE. I fault the fact that nobody in this country has set forth an immigration policy that we can win. ICE, INS, whoever is set forth to enforce immigration law in the US is doomed to failure until someone pay grades far above Julie Meyers fixes it.
Yes, there are hard working agents at both legacy agencies, but we need a policy that we can effectively enforce. Deporting people without a secure border it pointless, as they come right back across after they are sent home. Change can only come from one place, and thats Congress and the White House, not ICE HQ.

ICEAGENT on May 5, 2006 at 2:03 pm

You heard the war cry, 12 million illegal aliens in the US, and we can’t afford to deport them. The fix that you wont hear is simple but you wont get the dems or the reps to pull the pin. Here goes.
1. Some type of border wall has to be erected!
2. You must PROVE that you are a US citizen when you are applying for a state or fed program. Not a citizen not wic, welfare, hud, ect.
3. Hiring illegal aliens, bam, you just got rocked with a meaningfull fine, a real fine, the kind that if you do it again you are going to jail fine.
4. Stream line the seasonal workers visa. You need 200 orange pickers, bam, next week you’ll have them.
Just my opinion.

yakuza on May 8, 2006 at 11:32 am

Mr. ICEAGENT,
What’s the deal with bashing INS? INS wasn’t abolished…it was merged with Customs. The same way Customs wasn’t abolished…it was MERGED!!! That’s why they call the respective agencies “Legacy”. Read your job description if you are still lost in translation. Also, I am an agent with another agency and worked with state, local and other federal agencies to include Legacy INS and Legacy Customs. You are sadly misinformed if you think Customs was such a pristine agency before the merger. All we saw were whiny (so-called) agents who didn’t want to work after five and just had to have their lunch breaks. Don’t you have something called LEA where you get paid law enforcement pay to work at anytime and anywhere? Legacy INS agents didn’t complain and don’t complain when they are with us during search warrants or surveillances. I’m pretty sure that this is the problem…you still have the us and them mentality and refuse to work together as one agency. I also seen the crazy paper work you had to go through just to get things done through management…and you say there’s nothing wrong with management? (IS THAT 12 or 14 FONT?). It is a management problem. They are the ones who should be at the front line addressing issues to the “higher-ups” to accomplish your area’s mission but most have no idea what they are doing. It causes those far-and-few agents who want to do the right thing frustrated. So don’t take it out on a Legacy INS agent or what baggage (as you say) ICE inherited. Watch the news my friend. There’s a war out there and it involves immigration matters. Drugs smugglers will still be caught by inspections (like they always have and where Legacy Customs was good at sucking the teat and taking credit). Don’t worry, you will still get your stats and make management happy so stop whining and stop being part of the problem. If you don’t like the job…there is always USAJOBS. Also one more thing Mr. ICEAGENT, I noticed that your posting was made during a work day and after lunch time. Glad to see the tax dollar well spent.

YouraDork on May 8, 2006 at 1:45 pm

Youradork,
Nice name. Anyhow the day I made the postings on here I was on leave.
Anyhow, read this
“As of March 1, 2003, the former Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) was abolished and its functions and units incorporated into the new Department. Below are links to Web information about the new locations, responsibilities and contacts (HQs/field) of the former INS immigration services and immigration enforcement units. ”
or
“Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, expressed concern about INS officials’ technology skills. “Management is part of the problem,” Conyers said. “We not only don’t have high-tech systems but don’t have managers that can deal with high technology.”
Rep. George Gekas (R-Pa.), who chairs the House Judiciary Immigration Subcommittee, said he is confident the differences among the House, Senate and administration “are not insurmountable conflicts. Everyone is in agreement that restructuring is necessary.”
Texas Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, the ranking Democrat on the Immigration Subcommittee and a backer of the House bill, said, “I think we can proceed now that [INS] is abolished.”
Asked why the administration changed its position only in the last few days on legislating a new INS structure, Sensenbrenner said, “I cannot count the number of conversations I had with Attorney General Ashcroft, telling him that an administrative change would not work. It required an act of Congress to abolish the INS.” Sensenbrenner said he also had discussed the matter several times with President Bush.”
You say you are an agent with another agency, but then you state that “dont you have something called LEA”
ACTUALLY Dork, its called LEAP. Law enforcement Availability Pay, and the G wouldn’t have it around if they didn’t suck it out of you. Obviously you must not be an agent, but probably some low level wannabe. Trust me, LEAP is much better for the government than it is for the employee otherwise they would just pay us OT.

ICEAGENT on May 8, 2006 at 9:18 pm

Mr. YOURADORK: before you go around bashing others, you should make sure you have your facts straight!
_________________________________________________
Mr. ICEAGENT: What’s the deal with bashing INS? INS wasn’t abolished…it was merged with Customs.
_________________________________________________
ICE AGENT was absolutely correct, the INS most certainly was ABOLISHED. The Homeland Security Act of 2002, Section 471 officially ABOLISHED the INS.
Homeland Security Act of 2002 § 471
ABOLISHMENT OF INS
(a) IN GENERAL-
Upon completion of all transfers from the Immigration and Naturalization Service as provided for by this Act, the Immigration and Naturalization Service of the Department of Justice is abolished.
(b) PROHIBITION-
The authority provided by section 1502 may be used to reorganize functions or organizational units within the Bureau of Border Security or the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services, but may not be used to recombine the two bureaus into a single agency or otherwise to combine, join, or consolidate functions or organizational units of the two bureaus with each other.

ICEburg on May 9, 2006 at 10:50 pm

But is this an employee of the agency who lost the war on drugs over 25 years ago having the nerve to talk down to the agency that lost the war on immigration? There is still crack and heroin on my streets everywhere I look and I don’t think we grow it here in the US, so it’s not like Customs has a superior track record in accomplishing its mission. However, Customs lost the war on drugs gradually over many years so there’s less of a sting, whereas 9/11 immediately put INS in the spot-light.
I thought we got enough crap from above as it was, the last thing we needed was to see it from beside us to. Both INS and Customs were horribly managed bastions of cronyism, favoritism, nepotism, and mediocrity where the competetent go-getters learned what they could and moved on fast while the worthless pieces of crap with the right connections moved into management. INS’s failures were more public because as an agency they were on point in most of the situations where the high-jackers got in. It’s kinda easy to Monday-morning quarter-back and talk crap when your agency never had the same level of responsibility that immigration did.
Though I signed on for immigration, I now work for your beloved Customs management that was supposedly so superior and honored and wonderful. And I have to say, there is more pressure to admit illegal aliens into the country and ignore fraud and deception than there ever was before. I had no clue about Customs management until I saw it day-to-day; how the micro-management cripples employee innovaton, flexibility, and initiative; how your management is all about figures, stats, and appearances rather than caring about making meaningful policy changes; how most of you gave up the war on drugs decades ago and just concentrate on doing the bare minimum necessary to refute any notion that you’re merely sucking up a paycheck.
That’s the saddest thing about DHS: They had an opportunity to take what little good there was in both agencies and combine it into something better. Instead, SHIT+SHiT=SHIT.
Yes, technically both agencies were abolished under DHS. In truth, Customs management recognized an opportunity in the form of an enormous power-vaccum when they saw it, and so they jumped on it. But unfortunately, because they took the reins and charged ahead without first getting a clue, they are now lost, dazed, disoriented, but refusing to admit it and make needed changes. Immigration’s headaches are now Customs headaches, and when the next 19 get in and do some damage, there will no longer be an INS left to blame. WHo will be the scapegoat then?

eddy on May 25, 2006 at 11:00 pm

Eddy…Thank you…Thank you…Thank you.
Mr. ICEburg and ICEAGENT and ICE-T (figured they would be arrogant enough to use ICE in their name..just like the one who uses 2NFORCE as a license plate). They also must be office mates where the only enforcement action is deciding where to go for lunch. Legacy Customs is filled with “Pretty-Boy-Frat-Guys” whose only ambition is to be in management, make over $100,000 and forget what oath they took. You can’t keep blaming the White House and Congress to change things. It takes balls enough to bring out the issues as an agent and have the support of management to make those changes. With Legacy Customs in the majority of those management seats…IT WON’T BE DONE!!! Most of the laws are already written to be enforced but ICE won’t do it. WHY? MANAGEMENT!!! You have ambitious agents who are tired of having to sit in the office so their bosses can see them from 9-5. It doesn’t matter that your out there doing your job but you better be at your desk when I walk around to see who’s here. That’s the mentality. So if ICECUBE wants to feel better about him self and say INS is abolished and doesn’t want to fool himself that the laws governing immigration are wiped from the books, go ahead. “I didn’t join to do Legacy Custom’s or Legacy Immigration work?” It shouldn’t matter what they ask of you…just do it and quit your whining. Like I said before…there is always USAJOBS. Get out and quit being part of the problem and taking up space.
Eddy was right. DHS could have made a good thing happen with the merger but they screwed the pooch but they did get a new car to drive.

YouraDork on May 27, 2006 at 4:13 pm

Management is indeed the weak link. You can re-arrange and re-structure everything 20 times if you want, it won’t make a difference if the same inexperienced political cronies and well-connected private sector rejects are still at the helm.
This is what really irks me. Civil Service Reform and MAX HR is targeted towards the rank-and-file and holding them accountable,and yet any inadequecies in your work-force are a direct reflection of the weaknesses of leadership. However, as usual, they escape scrutiny and remain free to keep making horrible decisions. The most unethical, inept people I work around in my agency are management, GS 13 and above. These are the slime balls who get to run every kind of scam you can think of and flout rules, regulations, and laws on a daily basis, but they are the ones who can sit there and lecture me about integrity if I ever screw up.

eddy on June 5, 2006 at 12:41 pm

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