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July 12th Save the Date - DHS, CBP et al

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Posted on July 03 2019

 

Welcome to the D.C. thunderdome...

 

It really should not come as any surprise that the House Committee on OverSight and Government Reform formally  announced - July 12, 2019

 

Acting DHS and CBP Heads on

 

Separation and Treatment of Immigrant Children

 

 

Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan from U.S. Customs and Border protection (CBP) to testify on July 12, 2019, “ regarding troubling new revelations about the Trump Administration’s family separation policy and harsh conditions at detention centers on the border”

 

Chairman Cummings’ statement:

 

“There seems to be open contempt for the rule of law and for basic human decency.  The Committee needs to hear directly from the heads of these agencies as soon as possible in light of the almost daily reports of abuse and defiance.  I encourage Acting Secretary McAleenan and Acting Commissioner Morgan to appear voluntarily in order to answer these critical questions.”

 

 

 

 

The Agenda for the July 12, 2019 Hearing,  far will focus on the following areas. But it’s likely the current agenda might change. Given the nearly daily drip, drip, drip.

 

  • Reports of unaccompanied children—many of them separated from their families—in overcrowded and filthy conditions at Clint, Texas, and other facilities;
  • Racist, sexist, and xenophobic Facebook posts reportedly by current and former Border Patrol agents; and
  • A report issued this morning by the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General on “dangerous overcrowding” and “prolonged detention of children.”

 

I have more than two Hill Sources that have either confirmed or added additional information that there are multiple whistleblowers who are actively seeking “whistleblower protect(s)” from members of Congress. Because they are rightfully so fearful of retaliation but their concern is growing for their own safety inside of the various Detention Centers. I would urge the media to start FOIA’ing the Transport Logs - specifically look for any new or previously undisclosed transportation contracts.

This should not.come as a surprise - since late 2017 there have been numerous articles written about unaccompanied children being whisked away in the dark of the night. The concern is deepening that because of the lack on interoperability of DHS, ICE  CBP and HHS databases that detainees particularly children. That the lack of information means there’s a strong likelihood that various agencies do not know where these children are.

 

One thing you might not be readily apparent, there are times when I am “suddenly” laser focus. When I push my write ups with multiple why successive entries I tend to focus on a specific contract and/or awardee. For example my odd obsession with the one and only:  The GEO Group

 

three DHS-OIG Reports in <38 days,

the Trump Administration and The GEO Group Contracts

The GEO Group FEC, Lobbying  -follow the money- Federal Contracts

July 1, 2019 Flores Amendment & Ths GEO Group

 

One the main issues is I’m not entirely sure that most Americans are aware of the following fact:  under the Trump Administration which has been a chaotic mix of mismanagement, misappropriations and unconstitutionally  of which the Courts have repeatedly ruled  in favor of the Plaintiffs. Simultaneously there has been a significant uptick in “private” companies receiving hundreds of millions in “immigration” related contracts. 

 

 

 🌶SpicyFiles Sidebar🌶 for the record, we the people, you know the “Tax Payers” should know if Trump has any business interest (specifically stocks) in The GEO Group (in my Part I i actually walked you through the various subsidiaries of the GEO Group dba CivicCore) or SouthWest Key or any other Private Prisons (ps pretty sure Kush does & someone really should FOIA the ____ out the the White House visitor logs - the GEO Group Executives frequent “guest”) 

 

I’ve been in DC for several decades - I can’t recall any other time a House Committee acted this expeditiously. Although it should not come as a surprise. Chairman Cummings is a giant amount men.

 

The OverSight Committee “sent a letter to Facebook requesting information about reports that Border Patrol agents created a secret group to post racist, sexist, and xenophobic content relating to immigrants and Members of Congress.  Cummings expressed concern that the disturbing posts may violate CBP’s Standards of Conduct as well as Facebook’s Community Standards

 

The issue that has yet to be addressed is the CBP has a pervasive and systematic misogyny problem. Of all the Federal Law Enforcement CBP is rotten to the core. Largely because their “leadership” or lack thereof. Currently there are about 20,000 CBP Officers so the “I’m 10-15” Facebook Group with >9,500+ members should be more than alarming 

https://www.cbp.gov/sites/default/files/assets/documents/2017-Oct/US-CBP-org-charts-10.25.17.pdf

 

Last year I wrote extensively about the “culture” within CBP - I embedded numerous links to nearly 30,000 documents the ACLU obtained concerning the sexual assaults and abuse of minors - specifically young girls and how the CBP Officers repeatedly abused and terrorized immigrants in their custody. That said it appears Acting DHS Secretary McAleenan might finally understand how much trouble his Agency is in:

 

 

 

The OverSight Committee sent the following  letter the Acting DHS Secretary. The Committee also sent the following letter to Facebook. I’ve taken the liberty of highlighting what I -think- are important - the Committee wants ALL the Data, Metadata, Logs, All comments, Pictures and importantly any (user) deleted data. 

 

I can’t help but wonder one (likely of many) reason(s) the OverSight Committee’s Request to Facebook regarding the “I’m 10-15” Group can be found on page 7, section 6.9 USE OF GOVERNMENT PROPERTY OR OTHER RESOURCES, specifically subsection 6.9.1.1 concerning CBP’s directive. Meaning the request for logs and metadata might (operative word) the Committee doing their due diligence to ensure no CBP Employer used their Government Assigned Computer to post on the Facebook Group. 

 

 

 

More broadly  CBP Directive 51735-013A: U.S Customs and Border Protection Standards of Conduct explicitly states “off hours” Conduct can and will be evaluated  Document Posting Date: November 29, 2018

This directive establishes the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) policy on the ethical conduct and responsibilities of all CBP employees.

 

 

As you know yesterday the DHS-OIG released a 3rd Report No IG 19:51 Management Alert - DHS Needs to Address Dangerous Overcrowdingc and Prolonged Detention of Children and Adults in the Rio Grande Valley. Which was added to this previous write up. 

 

This link will take you to the DHS apprehensions. The dataset is 1932 to 2018, because if we are going to have an intellectually honest discussion it is prudent to give you links to original sourced data - these figures are not from an immigration advocacy group, these are figures from the Department of Homeland Security:

 

The reason you should scrutinize those numbers is it puts Trump’s humanitarian crisis in to perspective. Meaning since he was sworn in, he (most likely Stephen Miller because Trump isn’t smart enough to come up with this multi-pronged plan) have strategically withheld funding to the Northern Triangle, made Asylum even harder to obtain, has “Acting” Secretaries and totally bottlenecked Immigration judicial proceedings. I have been in DC for decades I can not recall at any time any previous administrations having horrid dentition facilities conditions like those being detailed during the Trump Administration. This tells me that Trump and his Administration are either incomprehensibly incompetent or they are purposely making conditions unlivable as a “deterrent”- if I were a reporter or a member of Congress that’s a question I’d demand full transparency.

 

I know some on the Right might falsely pivot to the Bush Administration was tough on illegal immigrants and Obama was weak. This DHS link will take you to all deportations or you can click on this DHS 2016 Yearbook

 

https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/2016%20Yearbook%20of%20Immigration%20Statistics.pdf

I now refer you to pages 103 thru 123 - in which it aggregates the 2.186,638 deportations under the two terms of President Obama. What you should keep in mind is the Trump Administration is artificially inflating their numbers. So when you read their “comparison” understand that the April 2017 AG Sessions Memo criminalized illegal entry  - one could make a persuasive argument that Trump is “juicing” his numbers because of the 2017 memo. Nonetheless below is the total for all deportations from 1892 to 2016:

 

 

 

 How do you solve this mess?

 

If I were asked what immediate actions could be taken to triage this issue. Here's what I’d recommend, because it’s clear the current process is not working. Moreover it appears there’s a choke point aka bottleneck and that’s creating an unsafe environment for the detainees and Federal Employees. It might be overly simple but to some degree this is about “traffic management” and once the bottle neck is removed this allows for better flow of time & resource management. The disjointed and semi-decentralized process means there’s a lack of communication and accountability. Meaning the longer this situation festers the worse it will become. And yes of course I might be over simplifying a  potential remedy but enough of the outrage  - actions, decisive actions needs to commence.

Congress should establish an Immigration Task Force - essentially streamline the data and require daily reporting. The task force should be comprised of DHS, ICE, HHS, CBP and any Private Company awarded >$950K in contracts, healthcare experts and immigration advocacy groups - but more importantly immigration attorneys should take the lead. This way we can prevent running afoul of the current laws , conversely this would save the tax payers money on the hundreds of lawsuits.

Intake procedures should be color coded or at the minimum better prioritized. For Example: Family Units Tier 1.  Unaccompanied Minors with sponsors or family living in America - Tier 2. Refugee seeking Asylum - Tier 3. Immigrants with an outstanding criminal warrant Tier 4 - should be immediately deported.

Use wristband barcode technology (similar to those used in hospitals - maternity wards). Once a detainee has been processed their barcode can track critical vital data, such as; days in center, meals, showers, member of a class (Flores Agreement), seeking asylum, sponsors in America, if they have a parent/child in custody and what detention center they are currently located and then prioritize reunification.

 

Ideally each member of Congress should take “the lead” for Detention Facilities in their District. Meaning if there’s a problem or an issue needs  to be escalated to resolve in a timely manner then that House Member has the data at their disposal. But here’s the thing neither Trump or Miller can be involved in this. Both have repeatedly shown distain for the Flores Agreement, Asylum seekers, our Laws and our Constitution. Trump/Miller intentionally created this crisis. Therefore they should not be part of any remedy. Otherwise we will likely be at the same reflection point in the very near future. The bottom line is as Americans we should demand better from the Trump Administration.

That said some of the CBP numbers for the SouthWest Sector appear to be off - 

 

 

For example U.S. Border Patrol Southwest Border Apprehensions by Sector Fiscal Year 2019, Southwest Border Unaccompanied Alien Children (0-17 yr old) Apprehensions. These are numbers directly from CBP - so if 56,278 Unaccompanied Children have been apprehended where are they? Because those numbers are not reflected in the HHS-ORR data - given it was last updated nearly two months ago 

 Moreover when you drill down on the actual data you can actually connect multiple dots, for example Trump was overjoyed when he announced he was “suspending aid” to the Northern Triangle (some argue this was one of the main determining factors for Nielsen’s April 2019 resignation) what this data shows you in unequivocal terms the vast majority of Family Unit - immigrants ARE coming from the Northern Triangle - specifically from Guatemala and Honduras. The year over year 2017 v 2018 v YTD 2019 show a two fold increase 

 

At the time the Director McAleena stated 4K was Crisis level and would strain the limited resources. This was less than a month after then Sec Nielsen’s announced a “historic” accord was reached with leaders in the Northern Triangle - I mean the DHS still has her February 2019 Press Release furthermore in March of 2019 Nielsen wrote to the House of Representatives (it’s not lost on me that she didn’t write to the Senate) and she cited numerous figures. The month in question is February 2019 - in her letter she purported 

 

This administration has made it clear that brown and black human beings are lesser than and do not deserve to be treated with any modicum of dignity. This Trump-Doctrine is not only unAmerican, it’s antithetical to real American Values. This is not who or what America is. The current crisis (of which the Trump Administration created) is not only unacceptable it is deeply shameful. Furthermore the silence from the Evangelical and Republicans is deafening. If “owning libs” means tearing at the very fabric of America’s exceptionalism and decency... by tacitly remaining silent - all while the Trump Administration is likely committing human rights abuses on a massive scale then I’m glad I no longer consider myself a Republican.

Because it is clear the Trump Administration “public policy” is “sorry America is closed - occupancy is full” that by far is one of the more offensive and onerous Trump-effect that no decent American should be okay with. After all Donald Trump considers these immigrants “animals”. In a room filled with Sheriffs from all over America this is what Trump said.

On the campaign trail yet another mash up of Trump’s vulgar. Xenophobic and distorted dystopian view of how he sees our America. It is unconscionable to me that not a single Republican in Congress will stand up to Trump. It’s as if Trump has emotional abused the Republicans to the point he’s holding them hostage. That courage and decency are no longer a main tenant of the Republican Party. Trump consistently used dehumanizing language - do you know who else used dehumanizing language?

 

 

To those Evangelical Christians who continue to remain silent but love to wear the MAGA hats and chant USA! USA! USA! - this is for you:

But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God. Leviticus 19:34

 

To my fellow brothers and sisters of the Catholic Church

When you reap your harvest in your field and have forgotten a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow, in order that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. "When you beat your olive tree, you shall not go over the boughs again; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow. "When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, you shall not go over it again; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow. Deuteronomy 24:19-21

 

To my brothers and sisters of Islam:

And lastly America has always been great, we’ve never stopped. Yes I legally emigrated here and was proud to be naturalized but my faith and more importantly my moral conscious demands that remaining silent while watching the sweeping and systematic human rights violations occurring to these illegal immigrants - it is maddening. Because we are better than this and we for damn sure are better than Trump.

 

POD Act of 2019 

With respect to Congress’ Constitutional Role to Conduct OverSight - most of you might not know but members of Congress are currently required to give DHS and its subAgencies (ICE, CBP, USCIS etc) at least 48 hours notice before they are allowed in to an Immigrant Detention Facility. Moreover as this week proved members of Congress were prohibited to bring their smartphones in to  the facilities. Although clearly a few members of Congress refused to turn their smart phones over. The last time I checked America wasn’t a tin-pot banana republic. The temerity of CBP, ICE and DHS writ large to act in such authoritarian manner is beyond the pale.

Which now brings us to Representative Jason Crow. On May 20, 2019 he formally introduced HR 2842 - this link will take you to the tracking of H.R. 2842 POD Act of 2019. This link will take you to the three page bill.

 

In Representative Crow’s press release he noted the following:

The Public Oversight of Detention Centers (POD) Act would promote transparency and accountability by allowing members of Congress to gain access to detention facilities within 48 hours of request. The bill would provide entry to both juvenile and adult facilities. To date, there are over 200 immigration detention facilities with the detention bed number a record high of 49,000.

The POD Act follows multiple instances of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) blocking members of Congress from entering detention facilities to conduct oversight.

Denver Post: Jason Crow denied entry in surprise visit to Aurora’s ICE detention site amid another rash of illnesses [February 2019]

Miami Herald: Trump blocks three Florida congresswomen from visiting Homestead child detention center [April 2019]

USA Today: Senator blocked from entering detention center housing migrants' kids [June 2018]

 

If the Trump Administration has nothing to hide then why are they blocking members of Congress access to these detention facilities. I still maintain if the Trump Administration continues to stonewall and refuse to comply with request from members of Congress then Congress needs to start sending subpoenas to the various Government Contractors (cough THE GEO Group) and force these private companies into the sunlight. Because Government OverSight isn’t “presidential harassment” - it is holding Government Agencies accountable. Ensuring our own Government isn’t violating the laws but more importantly that we are treating fellow human beings with dignity and affording them certain rights.

 

Here’s the bottom line - yes our Country’s Immigration Policies need to be updated. Throwing more money at these agencies doesn’t fix the problem. Trump and Stephen Miller know exactly what they are doing  and is only exacerbated by DHS and it’s subordinate agencies...with nearly 9,500  current and former CBP employees who clearly have no business being on the tax payer payroll. -SpicyFiles 

ps Happy Independence Day America. Maybe tomorrow take a brief moment and reflect on what America means to you. 

 

 

 

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1 comment

  • Marie G: July 11, 2019

    Thank you, Spicy. I was literally in tears at my desk at work as I listened to testimony this afternoon. I understand that immigration has been a struggle for the U.S. for years and that detainment is nothing new, but lack of humanity in the past few years is heartbreaking. We are better than this.

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