Integrity Legal

5th Apr 2010

The Office the Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security is responsible for making investigations into the activities of the agencies under the jurisdiction of the Department. This can be a difficult, and likely thankless, task as the Department of Homeland Security is a very large organization. The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service (USICE) has a mandate to enforce US Immigration and Customs regulations. That being said,  a recent report distributed by the American Immigration Lawyers Association discusses a recent investigation conducted by the Inspector General’s office into the activities of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the relationship between ICE and local law enforcement agencies:

“Today the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General issued a comprehensive report confirming civil rights abuses in a federal program that “deputizes” state and local law enforcement agencies to enforce immigration law. The Inspector General tells of local officers arresting individuals who have committed no offense – including even victims – for the sole purpose of identifying whether they have lawful immigration status.”

Although security and safety are important issues and it is necessary to take measures to ensure that America is safe and secure, there are many who argue that this security cannot come at the cost of American liberties and the ideals upon which America was founded. The report went further:

“Under section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, state and local law enforcement agencies, acting under federal supervision, may assume federal immigration enforcement powers. This delegation of immigration enforcement power must be executed through formal written Memoranda of Agreement between the federal government and the local authority. The memoranda require state and local officers to abide by federal civil rights laws. The Inspector General found widespread lack of adequate training, guidance, monitoring or oversight. ‘The federal government has failed in its duty to train and supervise local officers. This program has turned local police into agents of fear within law-abiding communities,’ said Wolfsdorf. ‘Immigration lawyers hear reports everyday that immigrants are afraid to talk to the police and to report crimes. Through this program the federal government is undermining the ability of local authorities to ensure all Americans’ safety and security.’ The report also noted that Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) failed to provide accurate information about the program to Congress and the public.”

It is interesting to note that Department of Homeland Security personnel investigated this issue and made these issues public. The Office of the Inspector General should receive some accolades for assisting in bringing these issues to light.

For specific information about US Immigration from Thailand Please See: American Visa Thailand.

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