I came across the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) press release dated 30th of December 2010 and thought it was of great importance not only because of the information that the press release discloses but especially because of what the press release does not disclose.
As I often note, a press release is a tool that individuals and organizations in all sorts of endeavors use to inform the public about successes that are scored. Certainly the interdiction of a significant quantity of cocaine is something to crow about- but here is the issue that concerns me greatly.
Before you read my commentary further I urge you to take the time to thoroughly read the actual press release and ask yourself one basic and simple question, “What important information was not covered in the press release?”
To give you a hint, I would remind you that a good report should answer the following questions:
Who, What, Where, When, Why and How?
The very first question on that list was not answered in the press release! I am not simply referring to the names of the people who were apprehended, but the fact that there is no mention of the citizenship or claimed citizenship of the individuals arrested was noted. This is not a matter of idle curiosity on my part.
Worse still, this is not the first time that the immigration status of an individual arrested by special agents of ICE was not addressed in press releases and, unfortunately, I suspect it certainly will not be the last! Recently there were other press releases that talked about how alien smugglers and those who conspired with illegal aliens to enter our country were prosecuted (and got relatively insignificant jail sentences) but there was absolutely no mention of any effort whatsoever being expended by ICE to locate the hundred or even thousands of illegal aliens who had paid for the services of smugglers to circumvent the inspections process or game the visa process!
When I was trained as an INS special agent, the first order of business that we were instructed to deal with was to properly and as completely as possible, identify the person(s) we came into contact with during the course of our official duties. This is important on many levels.
The issue of identity become much more critical when individuals are arrested for apparent felony level violations of law because it is absolutely vital to provide as much information as possible to the judge or magistrate who will set bail in the case.
I have testified before numerous such bail hearings and the results were, without exception, that the judge either remanded the alien suspect without bail or set bail so high as to make certain that the suspect was not released. This is of huge importance! How many times have we heard of a suspect being arrested for one crime, getting released from custody and then committing a murder or some other heinous crime? How many times have people questioned why the judge released the suspect the first time so that he was at large and able to commit additional crime(s)?
There is an additional factor to consider. If the smugglers who were apprehended in this case are aliens, it would also require that the agents seek to determine if additional criminal charges should be brought against the defendants for violating criminal provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). For example, if any of the smugglers had been previously deported from the United States and were in the midst of reentering without permission and had been deported because of criminal convictions, the mere unlawful reentry would constitute a felony for which the maximum punishment would be 20 years in federal custody. This is certainly a serious matter!
If a firearm was found to be in the constructive possession of the smugglers and they are determined to be illegal aliens, they would potentially be subjected to punishment for the crime of “Illegal alien in possession of a firearm.” This too is a serious felony.
The first step along the road to these possible prosecutions would be to determine if the individuals who were arrested were, in fact United States citizens, resident aliens who stand to ultimately lose their lawful status in the United States if they are convicted or aliens who are presently illegal aliens.
If a plea bargain is ultimately arranged, it is important to have a number of potential criminal violations that can be used as bargaining chips.
If there as a plea-bargain worked out down the road, it is important for all involved to be aware of the implications that any such arrangement might have on the immigration status of individuals if they are aliens.
Finally, if the defendants are subject to deportation it may be important to lodge documents that are known as detainers to make certain that these defendants are not released fro custody without ICE being given prior notification.
These are important factors that must be taken into account if the special agents from ICE who are working the case are to achieve the most effective results possible. Yet there was not a single word in the press release that even addressed the issue of the citizenship or immigration status of the smugglers who were arrested with 48 million dollars of cocaine in their possession!
It would also be important to know if they might be members of a particular drug cartel. Again, nationality would be extremely important in the furtherance of this line of inquiry. While the government is under no obligation to provide all of the available information in the press release, I am concerned about the apparent glossing over of the issue of the citizenship of the individuals in custody for a very important reason. I have been told that very few ICE agents have any real background in immigration law and often ignore the issue of immigration whenever they can!
I have heard these stories from a number of people who still work for that agency and it troubles me greatly that the sole federal agency that is charged with enforcing the immigration laws from within the interior of the United States would take such a cavalier attitude towards the immigration laws that they are supposed to be enforcing!
If our country is to survive and if our children and their children are to get their share of the “American Dream” the citizens of this nation must take their citizenship seriously!
We the People must be the best citizens we can be, citizens who are worthy of the gallantry demonstrated by our valiant men and women in the military, law enforcement and firefighters, who routinely go in harm’s way in defense of this nation and our citizens.
This must be our New Year’s resolution!
My goal in writing this and other commentaries is to point out our nations many failings before more victims pay the ultimate price for the incompetence and ineptitude of our government.
The first step in problem-solving is to first identify the problems and vulnerabilities and then devise strategies to overcome them.
If you find yourself to be in agreement with this commentary, I ask that you forward it to as many of your friends and family members as possible and encourage them to do the same. We need to create a “Bucket Brigade of Truth!”
The practice of good citizenship does not end in the voting booth, it only begins there.
The large scale apathy demonstrated by citizens of this nation has emboldened elected representatives to all but ignore the needs of the average American citizen in a quest for massive campaign funds and the promises of votes to be ostensibly delivered by special interest groups. There is much that we cannot do but there is one thing that We the People absolutely must do- we must stop sitting on the sidelines!
The collective failure of We the People to get involved in make our concerns known to our politicians have nearly made the concerns of the great majority of the citizens of this nation all but irrelevant to the politicians. I implore you to resolve this year to get involved!
If this situation concerns you or especially if it angers you, I ask you to call your Senators and Congressional “Representative. This is not only your right- it is your obligation!
All I ask is that you make it clear to our politicians that we are not as dumb as they hope we are!
ICE takes custody of 3 individuals suspected of smuggling $48 million in cocaine