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  1. ICE-led gang surge nets 1,378 arrested nationwide

    by , 05-11-2017 at 03:01 PM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)

    WASHINGTON — A six-week nationwide gang operation led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) concluded this weekend with 1,378 arrests across the United States – the largest gang surge conducted by HSI to date. The operation targeted gang members and associates involved in transnational criminal activity, including drug trafficking, weapons smuggling, human smuggling and sex trafficking, murder and racketeering.

    Of the 1,378 total arrested, 1,098 were arrested on federal and/or state criminal charges, including 21 individuals arrested on murder related charges and seven for rape and sexual assault charges. The remaining 280 were arrested on administrative immigration violations. Of the total arrested, 933 were U.S. citizens and 445 were foreign nationals from 21 countries in South and Central America, Asia, Africa, Europe and the Caribbean.

    Numerous state, local and federal law enforcement partners, including ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO), participated in the HSI-led operation, which ran March 26 to May 6.

    “Gangs threaten the safety of our communities, not just in major metropolitan areas but in our suburbs and rural areas, too,” said ICE Acting Director Thomas Homan. “Gang-related violence and criminal activity present an ongoing challenge for law enforcement everywhere. Our efforts to dismantle gangs are much more effective in areas where partnership with local law enforcement is strongest.”

    Of the 1,378 total arrested, 1,095 were confirmed as gang members and affiliates – including 137 affiliated with the Bloods, 118 with the Sureños, 104 with MS-13, and 104 with the Crips. The remaining 283 claimed no gang affiliation but were arrested on either criminal or administrative charges.

    Individuals are confirmed as gang members if they admit membership in a gang; have been convicted of violating Title 18 USC 521 or any other federal or state law criminalizing or imposing civil consequences for gang-related activity; or if they meet certain other criteria such as having tattoos identifying a specific gang or being identified as a gang member by a reliable source.

    Three individuals arrested during this operation previously had deferred action under DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). Aliens granted DACA who are found to pose a threat to national security or public safety may have their deferred action terminated at any time and the Department of Homeland Security may seek their removal from the United States. Since the start of DACA in 2012, DHS has terminated deferred action for approximately 1,500 recipients due to criminality or gang affiliation concerns.

    Ten individuals arrested during this operation crossed the border as unaccompanied minors. Nine of the 10 were confirmed as gang members, eight of whom were MS-13 gang members.

    During this operation, HSI and its partner law enforcement agencies seized 238 firearms; various narcotics including 790.15 ounces of cocaine, 546.96 ounces of methamphetamine, 113.42 ounces of heroin, 1.59 ounces of fentanyl, and 8,019.46 ounces of marijuana; and $491,763 in U.S currency.

    Enforcement actions occurred around the country, with the greatest activity taking place in the HSI Houston, HSI New York, HSI Atlanta, and HSI Newark areas.

    Enforcement actions conducted during the operation include:

    • HSI Washington, D.C., administratively arrested 10 members of MS-13, and criminally arrested one member of MS-13, on April 26 at a stash house in Falls Church, Virginia. HSI and local law enforcement partners were originally surveying the house because they had received reports about alleged sex trafficking taking place at the residence. Two of the individuals had outstanding orders of removal. The Fairfax County Police Department and ERO assisted with the arrests.
    • HSI San Antonio (Texas), working in conjunction with the San Antonio Police Department Violent Crimes task force initiative, arrested Gilbert Vasquez III, an associate of the Tango Orejon Gang in San Antonio on April 5. A search of the house found cocaine, meth, heroin, four handguns – one of which was stolen – and over $48,000 in cash. Three other subjects found in the house were also arrested including Brent Reum, a known member of the Tango Orejon Gang.
    • HSI San Diego (California) Border Enforcement Security Taskforce (BEST) arrested 23 gang members and associates on April 25-27. They also seized 17 firearms, meth, marijuana, over $25,000 in U.S. currency and several thousand rounds of various calibers of ammunition. The HSI-led investigation targeted several documented street gangs working together, across territorial lines, to promote their criminal enterprises. All subjects arrested are being prosecuted federally for violations of various narcotics, money laundering, weapons and criminal street gang connected offenses. The U.S. Marshals, San Diego Police Department, Chula Vista Police Department, Drug Enforcement Administration, and Bureau of Prisons assisted HSI with this case.
    • HSI Newark (New Jersey), the Union County Prosecutor's Office and the Essex County Prosecutor's Office arrested Crips associates Olufemi Odeyemi and Brenda Jackson on April 7 the for possession and distribution of heroin in Irvington, New Jersey. Search warrants of Jackson’s vehicle and Odeyemi’s residence yielded 2.8 kilograms of raw heroin.

    About Operation Community Shield

    Project New Dawn is the latest example of ICE’s ongoing efforts, begun in 2005 under Operation Community Shield, to target violent gang members and their associates, eradicate the violence they inflict upon our communities and stop the cash flow to transnational organized crime groups. Since 2005, HSI special agents working in conjunction with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies have made more than 47,000 gang-related arrests.

    Operation Community Shield is a global initiative in which HSI collaborates with federal, state and local law enforcement partners to combat the growth and proliferation of transnational criminal street gangs, prison gangs and outlaw motorcycle gangs in the United States and abroad. Through its domestic and international Operation Community Shield task forces, HSI leverages its worldwide presence and expansive statutory and civil enforcement authorities to mitigate the threats posted by these global networks, often through the tracing and seizing of cash, weapons and other illicit proceeds.

    Partnerships with state, local, federal and international law enforcement agencies are critical to the success of HSI gang enforcement operations. Law enforcement partners provide actionable intelligence which is critical in the targeting of gangs and their membership for enforcement actions. HSI special agents use intelligence gathered from surge operations to pursue complex criminal enterprise investigations and federal prosecutions.


    As part of Operation Community Shield, HSI has effected more than 4,300 criminal arrests and nearly 3,000 civil immigration arrests of MS-13 leaders, members and associates, including criminal arrests for Racketeering Influence Corrupt Organizations (RICO), Violent Crime in Aid of Racketeering (VICAR) and gang conspiracy violations investigated by HSI Baltimore, HSI DC, HSI Charlotte, HSI New York, HSI Long Island, HSI Newark, HSI Boston, HSI San Francisco, HSI San Jose, HSI Los Angeles, HSI Detroit, HSI Nashville, HSI Houston, and our state and local law enforcement partners.

    In October 2012, HSI worked with the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control to designate MS-13 as the first transnational criminal street gang as a TCO. As a result of the designation, any property or property interests in the United States, or in the possession or control of U.S. persons in which MS-13 has an interest, are blocked.

    HSI’s National Gang Unit

    HSI’s National Gang Unit oversees HSI’s expansive transnational gang portfolio and enables special agents to bring the fight to these criminal enterprises through the development of uniform enforcement and intelligence-sharing strategies.

    Recent NGU-led operations have included: Southern Tempest in 2011, targeting gangs affiliated with drug trafficking; Project Nefarious in 2012, targeting gangs involved in human smuggling and trafficking; Project Southbound in 2014, targeting the Sureños, the fasting growing transnational gang in the U.S., Project Wildfire in 2015, and Project Shadowfire in 2016.

    To report suspicious activity, call ICE's 24-hour toll-free hotline at: 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or visit
  2. DOJ Settles Immigration Claim Against Another Staffing Agency

    By Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law PLLC

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    The Justice Department’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) (formerly known as OSC) has reached a settlement agreement with Provisional Staffing Solutions, a temporary staffing agency located in Cranston, Rhode Island. The agreement resolves the IER’s investigation into whether Provisional Staffing discriminated against non-U.S. citizens in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

    The investigation concluded Provisional Staffing routinely requested non-U.S. citizens present specific identity documents, such as a Permanent Resident Card, to prove their work authorization while not requesting a specific identity document from U.S. citizens. The antidiscrimination provision of the INA prohibits employers from subjecting employees to unnecessary documentary demands based on the employees’ citizenship or national origin.  Lawful permanents residents and other work-authorized non-U.S. citizens often have the same identity and work authorization documents available to them as U.S. citizens, and may choose from among the acceptable documents to prove they are authorized to work.

    Under the settlement, Provisional Staffing must pay a civil penalty of over $16,000 to the United States, provide a copy of Lists of Acceptable Documents to employees simultaneously with the request for employees to complete their I-9 forms, revise company policies in order that they prohibit discrimination on the basis of citizenship status or national origin, post notices informing workers about their rights under the INA’s antidiscrimination provision, train their human resources personnel, through the viewing of an IER webinar, on immigration compliance issues, and be subject to departmental monitoring and reporting requirements for the next three years.

    Staffing companies appear to be more likely to violate the antidiscrimination provision of the INA. In the past year, IER has settled with at least five staffing companies concerning allegations of discrimination due to citizenship status.
  3. President's Bad Faith and Claim of Unlimited Power in Defending Muslim Ban Pose an Existential Threat to America's Democracy. Roger Algase

    The following comment has been revised as of May 11 at 9:27 pm.

    This comment will go into detail about the dangers to America's democracy posed by the claim of unlimited presidential power which Donald Trump's lawyers have been asserting before the US 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, and other federal courts, in order to try to justify his order banning at least 100 million people from entering the US without any showing of wrongdoing, merely because they happen to be citizens of six almost 100 per cent Muslim countries.

    First, let us take a close look at the president's claim, argued at length before the court in the 4th Circuit Muslim ban case, to the effect that even if a presidential action is in bad faith, the courts have no power to look into that fact or to act on it.

    Admittedly, when the president issued his original and revised Muslim ban orders, there was a national security pretext to be sure.

    However, both the history of these orders and the fact that there has been no evidence of any increased danger to America or risk of attack arising from the fact that the courts have blocked these orders show beyond any possible doubt that national security was not the main purpose of these orders, but that an unconstitutional assault on religious freedom and equal protection of the law for America's Muslim minority was.

    Both the history of these two orders, originating in the president's December 2015 call for a world-wide ban on entry to the US by Muslims, and the obvious bad faith behind these two orders are described in detail in an amicus brief submitted in the 4th Circuit litigation by a group of constitutional law scholars, led by a Joshua Matz, a distinguished former Harvard Law Review editor and law clerk to Justice Anthony Kennedy, and co-author with Professor Lawrence Tribe of a book called The Roberts Court and Constitution. See:

    For the full text of the amicus brief, follow the link by clicking on the word "desribed" in Matz' following article on the 4th Circuit case in The Guardian May 9th issue:

    and then follow the link to the full brief in the summary of the brief that will appear on the page the comes up after clicking on the above word "described".

    As Matz writes in the above article:

    "To start, supreme court precedent
    requires courts to assess presidential motives here. As I described in a brief on behalf of legal scholars, under the establishment clause, official acts based in animus toward any particular religion are forbidden."

    Matz continues:

    "As professor David Hemel has explained, under relevant immigration cases, 'a decision to exclude aliens from the country can be struck down on a convincing showing of bad faith.' Several judges, including Pamela Harris and James Wynn Jr., properly emphasized that these rules compel a judicial analysis of Trump's purpose."

    Then, after stating that all of Trump's anti-Muslim remarks, not just the ones he may have made as president, are relevant to this policy, Matz writes:

    "Any other conclusion would be destructive of our constitutional culture. The notion that the president can speak without any sense of legal responsibility for his statements is chilling."

    And, in answer to the claim of unlimited power over immigration which the president is now making before the courts, Matz writes:

    "It's true, of course, that the president typically enjoys a judicial presumption of good faith and regularity. But there surely comes a point where reliance on this rule amounts to judicial abdication - and Trump's continuing bad faith and irregularity suggest we have crossed that Rubicon. Even if we haven't, the nature of presumptions is that they can be rebutted, and the evidence of Trump's bad faith toward American Muslims is overwhelming."

    Anyone who has any doubts about the "animus" (to put it euphemistically) toward Muslims and their religion which obviously motivated Donald Trump's Muslim ban orders need only read his venom-saturated, poisonous December 7, 2015 speech calling for a world wide ban on entry by Muslims to the US which I quoted in full in my previous comment on this subject, and which was since followed up by a long series of hostile comments and actions toward Muslims too numerous to mention here.

    Matz concludes:

    "Judges may not invalidate Trump's travel ban merely because they disagree with it, but they assuredly can strike it down for violating fundamental rights. Our history offers painful lessons about the potential for tragedy when courts fail to exercise this vital responsibility."

    And finally, Matz warns:

    "But if the judiciary blinds itself, freeing Trump of all responsibility for his words, policies like this may define our future"

    But the danger to our democracy that was presented by Trump's attempt by means of the Muslim ban orders to institute unfettered, one-man control over a key part of this country's immigration policy, without being subject to any control by the courts or the constitution, is already now already apparent.

    The fundamental issue presented by the president's Muslim ban orders, as will as his other unilateral actions against immigrants since become president is: How long will America remain a democracy in what Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently called the "Donald Trump era" of immigration?

    Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. For more than 35 years, Roger has been helping mainly skilled and professional immigrants receive work visas and green cards without regard to their ethnicity, national origin, or religion. Roger's email address is

    To be continued.

    Updated 05-12-2017 at 07:52 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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