11:35 AM Eastern - Monday, April 5, 2010

Embarrassing Week of ICE News Coverage Ends in Release of Haitian Earthquake Victims

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SEIU Calls for Vigils at Local ICE Offices Nationwide to Reign in Rogue Agency

Last week, reports in the New York Times and in the Washington Post unveiled shocking evidence of abuse and mismanagement at the U.S. Immigration Customs and Enforcement Agency (ICE)--the agency under DHS responsible for apprehending, detaining, and deporting unauthorized immigrants.

First, a leaked memo revealed that ICE has issued enforcement quotas for field officers, completely ignoring earlier pledges to keep enforcement focused on criminals and abusive employers. Then, days later, a New York Times story revealed that ICE greeted dozens of Haitians rescued after the earthquake with handcuffs, keeping them in immigration detention for months (only released after the embarrassing NY Times story got out.) Finally, to add insult to injury, a report by DHS's own inspector general showed that local law enforcement enforcing immigration laws have received improper training with little to no oversight.

"ICE is completely out of control," said SEIU Executive Vice President Eliseo Medina. "The Obama Administration promised to clean up this mess, but so far, they've just added flames to the fire. Instead of solving problems, the government's out-of-control enforcement 'strategy' is hurting workers, wasting taxpayer dollars, and devastating communities."

Last week's embarrassing incidents are just two in a series of agency mishaps that have undermined the administration's credibility and shown a persistent on immigration enforcement policy. Despite promises made by the Obama Administration to clean up the agency and focus limited resources on apprehending criminals and abusive employers, the reports show that ICE has perpetuated and in some case exacerbated the misguided immigration enforcement policies of the Bush years--all while operating with little oversight or accountability.

TAKE ACTION NOW: Click here to send a letter to DHS Secretary Napolitano and Asst. Sec. for ICE John Morton urging them to Reign in the cowboys at ICE.

"ICE agents are acting more like the 'keystone cops' than serious, well-managed officers," continued Medina. "While ICE chases after ordinary workers-- with no apparent goal other than to inflate their numbers--they are letting dangerous criminals and bad-apple employers go scot-free. Workers, taxpayers and families will not stand for it."

In response to ICE's abuses, SEIU is holding Vigils in front of ICE local offices this week to demand the Obama Administration get its house in order.

Click here to take action.

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