[Pnews] Top Trump Official John Kelly Ordered ICE to Portray Immigrants as Criminals to Justify Raids

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Mon Oct 16 18:13:40 EDT 2017


  Top Trump Official John Kelly Ordered ICE to Portray Immigrants as
  Criminals to Justify Raids

Alice Sperialice - October 16, 2017

_A directive to_ immigration officials across the country to try to 
portray undocumented immigrants swept up in mass raids as criminals came 
directly from then-Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly, The 
Intercept has learned.

Earlier this month, The Intercept published a cache of internal emails 
exchanged between Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials in Texas 
in February, while the first mass raids of the Trump administration were 

The redacted emails, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act 
request by students at Vanderbilt University Law School, show that while 
hundreds of undocumented immigrants were rounded up across the country, 
DHS officials tried — and largely failed — to engineer a narrative that 
would substantiate the administration’s claims that the raids were 
motivated by public safety concerns. In the emails, local ICE officials 
are ordered to come up with “three egregious cases” of apprehended 
criminals to highlight to the media.

The February raids ­— the first in an ongoing series under this 
administration — led to 680 arrests nationwide, including arrests of 
dozens of individuals who had no criminal history. In Austin, Texas, 
where 51 people were arrested, the majority of those arrested had no 
criminal record.

But while dozens of undocumented immigrants were detained, the 
administration sought to shape the narrative that “by removing from the 
streets criminal aliens and other threats to the public, ICE helps 
improve public safety,” according to statements by the agency.

On February 10, as the raids kicked off, an ICE executive in Washington 
sent a directive to the agency’s chiefs of staff around the country. 
“Please put together a white paper covering the /three most egregious 
cases,/” for each location, the acting chief of staff of ICE’s 
Enforcement and Removal Operations wrote in the email. “If a location 
has only one egregious case — then include an extra egregious case from 
another city.”


As a reader of The Intercept pointed out, the email’s subject line 
— “Due Tonight for S1 – URGENT” — meant that the request had been made 
by the secretary of Homeland Security himself, referred to as “S1” in 
department shorthand.

Kelly was at the helm of the department at the time, before he was 
appointed in July to replace Reince Priebus as White House chief of staff.

The White House and DHS did not respond to requests for comment. ICE 
issued a statement 
in response to The Intercept’s original story, but did not answer 
questions about what officials meant by “egregious cases” and why they 
felt the need to highlight such cases in the media.

In Texas at least, ICE officials struggled to fulfill Kelly’s request.

A day after the original email, an agent at ICE’s San Antonio office 
sent an internal email saying the team had come up short: “I have been 
pinged by HQ this morning indicating that we failed at this tasking.”

“As soon as you come in, your sole focus today will be compiling three 
egregious case write-ups,” an assistant field office director at the 
agency’s Austin Resident Office wrote to that team on February 12, 
noting that the national and San Antonio offices were growing impatient. 
“HQ and SNA will ping us in the afternoon for sure.”

Then the agent added that a team of officers had “just picked up a 
criminal a few minutes ago, so get with him for your first egregious case.”

Top photo: White House Chief of Staff John Kelly calls on a reporter 
during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, Oct. 12, 2017.

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