November 22, 2006, - 10:34 am

A Not So Happy Thanksgiving at ICE?; ICE Official’s Charlie Brown Cameo; “Meltdown” Follow-Up

By Debbie Schlussel
Glorified “Plainclothes” Police?
Uh-oh. Things are so bad at Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)–the agency charged with enforcing federal immigration and customs laws–that Newsweek has now demoted its agents. Sort of.
Under the “leadership” of Julie L. Myers a/k/a “The ICE Princess,” Newsweek’s Mark Hosenball calls the mostly hard-working dedicated ICE Agents:

“Homeland Security’s plainclothes investigation bureau.”

Not even a mention of Immigration or Customs. Not a good thing.

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On Thanksgiving, A Diversity of Turkeys

(Julie Myers Bag Lady by David Lunde/Lundesigns)

That tells us one thing. Under The ICE Princess, ICE has become something of a joke to the press, including Hosenball, that cover it. But the silver lining is that–as we wrote here first–Hosenball reports that The ICE Princess may be on the chopping block along with John Bolton (can’t we keep him and lose her?):

Other Bush aides given recess appointments could face similar fates [as Bolton]. . . . Other recess appointees who need Senate approval to keep their jobs beyond the end of next year include Julie Myers, head of Homeland Security’s plainclothes investigation bureau . . . . Emily Lawrimore, a White House spokeswoman, said: “President Bush is encouraging members of the Senate to confirm these highly qualified individuals as soon as possible.”

Highly qualified? Puh-leeze, get off the crack pipe.
Desperate But Not Serious
We’ve heard from so many disappointed and demoralized ICE agents, including those who’ve gone above and beyond their supervisors and e-mailed The ICE Princess personally. Some are agents who’ve faced discipline for improper behavior and don’t like it. That she responded to all of them and sought meetings with them tells us one thing: She’s desperate to be liked and drowning over there.
ICE supervisors can only be upset that this fake “general” (more like, general’s niece) at the top has broken rank and show no confidence in any of her staff. Not a way to do biz in any organization. Remember Jimmy Carter insisting on doing the White House tennis court scheduling, himself?
It’s an ICE Thanksgiving, Charlie Brown
Since this is Thanksgiving Eve, we couldn’t help but notice that our favorite Thanksgiving special was on Monday Night and that a top ICE official made a cameo. We watched, “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving,” and wouldn’t you know it, ICE Director of Investigations Peppermint Patty a/k/a Marcy Forman-Friedman was a co-star.

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It was just like her angry, shouting sessions with top-ranking agents, too. Peppermint Patty invited herself and her friends to Charlie Brown’s house for Thanksgiving Dinner. Then, she proceeded to yell at everyone at the table because she didn’t like the dinner being served by Snoopy. Everyone left as soon as possible. We hear that goes on at the ICE Palace all of the time. Sometimes, life imitates art imitates life.
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ICE Investigations Chief Peppermint Patty a/k/a Marcy Forman-Friedman

“Meltdown” Redux & Re-Evaluation
And finally, one ICE agent sent us a detailed response to the “Meltdown” ICE expose we wrote about recently (and recommended). He makes a lot of good points, so we recommend everyone read these valid criticisms:

I just wanted to rebut a few statements from the Meltdown article.
* “No human-trafficking cases, no major drug syndicates exposed, no counterterrorism arrests.”
Not true. I know for a fact that ICE responds to human smuggling cases all of the time. ICE will receive calls from family members of victims who are being held hostage in Phoenix. ICE agents then proceed to locate the house where they are being imprisoned until a smuggling fee is paid. Once the house is located, ICE agents will make entry, arrest usually multiple armed subjects, and free scores of victims (or pollos as they are referred to).
* “Mistrust of ICE isn’t limited to state entities like DPS. A government audit last year found that the Border Patrol was passing more and more tips to the FBI, DEA or even local police instead of ICE.”
Also not true. Border Patrol has a Memorandum of Understanding with DEA that requires them to notify DEA of a drug seizure, not ICE. This policy stems from the Department of Justice days and predates the creation of DHS.
This could change in the future. Most DEA agents I know would love to give this responsibility over to ICE because they have enough going on to keep them busy.
* “Four months after that, the INS pounded nails in its own coffin by approving visas for 9/11 ringleader Mohammed Atta and another hijacker.”
Not true. INS never issued visas. This responsibility belongs to the
Department of State. The State Department issued the visas, so of
course INS is going to let them into the country without a problem.
Just goes to show how much the reporter knows. The two agencies who had little or nothing to do with 9/11 (INS & Customs) took the biggest hit. Why? Because the State Department and FBI have the most political clout.
* “But the main reason they can’t is that only the feds have the power to properly identify foreigners. State and local police can’t access the computer databases that hold the names and personal data of tens of millions of foreigners who have had some contact with immigration officials.”
Not true. Local and State law enforcement officers can call the Law
Enforcement Support Center’s 24 hour hotline to obtain information as
to the immigration status of a suspect. If that suspect is determined to be illegal, the LESC can refer the caller to the appropriate local ICE OI [Office of Investigations], DRO [Detention & Removal Operations], or Border Patrol office, depending on the circumstances, for further assistance.
* “After a neighbor calls in a suspected drop house, for example, police call ICE. If it deigns to answer the call, it then counts all the people arrested at the house as its arrests. If a case is generated against a suspected smuggler at the scene, that also counts as ICE’s prosecution.”
Would it be better if the neighbor called ICE first? It isn’t ICE’s
fault that the call came in to the local police department first and they in turn pass it on to the appropriate authority, in this case ICE. Most people call the police first because either they aren’t informed as to what ICE is and what they do or they feel that people are being held against their will, which could possibly fall under the locals’ jurisdiction.
All illegal aliens arrested on scene are considered an administrative arrest. This is uniquely different than a criminal arrest. If some of the parties on scene are determined to be involved in alien smuggling, they will be arrested criminally and charged in federal court. Upon the suspects’ release, they would then face their administrative immigration charges in immigration court. There is a difference and it is not “double-dipping.”

Finally, we’re hearing rumors from a few ICE agents that Congress will be considering splitting ICE up again, in the next Congress. If that happens and the split is a Customs/Immigration split, that would be a good thing.
Something to wish for over the Holidays.
I wish all of the many faithful ICE agent readers (& all other readers) of this site a VERY HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

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4 Responses

Hi. I don’t have a big beef with your comments — my article was based in part on comments from current and former ICE agents, so I appreciate what you have to say as an ICE agent yourself. But I’d like to clarify a few things, if I may:
1. The phrase “human trafficking” refers to modern-day slavery cases. My article definitely mentions that ICE handles human smuggling cases, which are different.
2. The information about the government audit came from Robert Ashbaugh’s Nov. 15, 2005 report to Congress, which can be found online. The MOU on the DEA wasn’t mentioned in Ashbaugh’s report, but if you say there is one, I won’t deny it.
3. The INS issued the visas, not the State Department. Check this report out:
http://www.usdoj.gov/oig/special/0205/exec.htm
I don’t necessarily disagree with your last two points, but here are some thoughts:
4. I wonder whether having the ability to call a federal government hotline is the same thing as having access to the database. I also wonder how long local police can legally detain suspected illegal immigrants while waiting to get answers from the hotline. But you bring up an interesting fact. Maybe all police should have this hotline number handy.
5. I was making the point that when ICE says it made 7,000 arrests last year, those were not always ICE-initiated cases.
Thanks for reading.
Sincerely,
Ray Stern
New Times
602-744-6584
ray.stern@newtimes.com

Ray Stern on November 22, 2006 at 8:41 pm

DS writes:”We watched, “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving,” and wouldn’t you know it, ICE Director of Investigations Peppermint Patty a/k/a Marcy Forman-Friedman was a co-star.”
Me thinks this Marcy is not your favorite schlepper at ICE. Keep the lights on them Debbie. At some point someone’s ass is going to be held accountable for all the treason that goes on these governmental departments that oversee the open violation of our laws–all whilst they are playing bigshot. It is so sickening.
After the Waco massacre, it was interesting to watch the congressional gamesmanship and one upmanship as government officials one after the other retold the tale before house committees of why they incinerated the Davidians. It really should have struck fear in any person’s heart concerned with justice. Was justice ever done there? Hmmmm.
At some point–all this porous borders and monkey-“see no evil” behavior will be dealt with. I am glad you have put so much on the record, Debbie. It will be so much harder for these to plead ignorance.

BB on November 25, 2006 at 10:00 pm

Ray,
You are wrong. Visas are issued by the State Department. From the own OIG report that you linked
“Visas are issued by the U.S. Department of State and authorize aliens to enter the United States for specified purposes. When an alien arrives at a POE, an INS immigration inspector reviews the alien’s documents and seeks to determine, based on the alien’s answers to questions posed by the inspector, whether the alien’s purpose for entering the country matches the purpose associated with the visa.”
This is common knowledge. Your facts are wrong. The INS and now ICE never issued Visas. This has always been a function of the Dept of State.
Immigration would review an adjustment of status, if someone applied to become as citizen of the US, but the INS never issued visas.

ICEAGENT on November 28, 2006 at 12:35 am

Also from the report:
“In the second method, aliens who already have entered the United States through other legal means, such as with a visitor visa, may ask the INS to change their status to students. To do so, aliens must file INS form I-539 requesting a change of status, establish that they are enrolled in school full time, establish that they are in a valid status at the time of application, and demonstrate their financial ability to pay for the schooling. This method – the one pursued by Atta and Alshehhi – does not involve the State Department nor does it involve the issuance of a new visa.”

Ray Stern on November 28, 2006 at 12:01 pm

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