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America's Voice

 

Moment of Truth for DHS Secretary Kelly

 

Needs to Answer for National Guard Memo, Misconduct by Agents, Raids that Swept Up Low Priority Individuals

This morning, Associated Press reports that a draft memo, written by DHS Secretary John Kelly, makes the case for deploying 100,000 National Troops to arrest undocumented immigrants in multiple states.

This news comes after a week of chaos that erupted as a direct consequence of Trump’s Executive Orders and his greenlight, full-speed-ahead order to agents to arrest and detain any and all undocumented immigrants they encounter.

Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice Education Fund, said:

“100,000 troops deployed on U.S. soil to conduct sweeps of neighborhoods, schools, places of worship, sports fields and worksites? If true, these are police state tactics that seem more in keeping with a dictatorship ruled by a strong man than a democracy governed through institutions. DHS Secretary Kelly needs to face the American people, tell the truth about this memo and strongly disavow any such radical ideas.

“Furthermore, General Kelly needs to come clean on the following: why did he echo the “bad actor” rationale of his agency’s recent enforcement actions when, according to ICE’s own fact sheet, the majority of immigrants detained over the last week were not serious criminals? What is he going to do about the agents in Washington state who lied and altered documents in an inept attempt to frame DACA-recipient Daniel Ramirez as a gang member? What is he going to about the Border Patrol agents who said they arrested a domestic violence victim on the streets when videos clearly show them apprehending the victim in a court house? What is he going to do about ICE agents targeting homeless men coming out of a church shelter in Alexandria, Virginia?

“People who know him say General Kelly is an honorable man and a dedicated public servant. Others worry that the Sessions-Bannon-Miller team wants to use him as a front for their extreme measures, without giving him any real authority. Now is the time for General Kelly to step forward and show us what he’s about.”

Background

Seattle, Washington: Daniel Ramirez Medina

Following the arrest and detention of Daniel Ramirez Medina, a 23 year old DACA-mented father with no criminal record, Secretary Kelly released a statement bolstering false allegations that Daniel was a gang member and applauding his ICE agents for the arrest: “Daniel Ramirez-Medina, a gang member, was… arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)… This case illustrates the work ICE fugitive operations teams perform every day across the country to remove public safety threats from our communities when they encounter them.”

Daniel has been in detention, separated from his family, for over a week. Now, reportsshow that government officials altered a legal document to bolster their bogus accusations that Daniel belonged to a gang.

This week, Daniel filed a petition to be removed from the detention center’s gang unit, stating, “I came in and the officers said I have gang affiliation with gangs so I wear an orange uniform. I do not have a criminal history and I’m not affiliated with any gangs.” After being altered, the statement now falsely reports: “I have gang affiliation with gangs so I wear an orange uniform. I do not have a criminal history and I’m not affiliated with any gangs.”

According to Mark Rosenbaum, Daniel’s attorney, as reported by The Stranger, “What began, I thought, as a mistake in bringing Daniel in has turned into a bogus operation that is attempting to railroad him and violate the sacred program that the DACA represents. It is one of the most serious examples of governmental misconduct that I have come across in my 40 years of practice.”

El Paso, Texas: Irvin Gonzalez, Transgender Domestic Violence Survivor

Last week, an undocumented transgender woman was detained by Border Patrol agents immediately following her court appearance to testify regarding domestic violence charges. While agents initially claimed they waited outside to arrest her, new footage shows that they detained her inside the courtroom.

As reported by the Associated Press: “El Paso County Attorney Jo Anne Bernal said she reviewed the courthouse security footage that shows federal agents entering the courthouse on February 9, approaching Irvin Gonzalez as she was leaving the protective-order courtroom and escorting her out of the building by the elbow…. Victim advocates said detaining people seeking protective orders could deter others from seeking help.”

Alexandria, Virginia

An internal ICE policy discourages agents from conducting immigration raids in churches, schools, and hospitals, which is likely why agents waited to arrest a group of Latino men exiting a church-run hypothermia shelter until they had crossed the street. Thermon Brewster, who was in the group of men but not arrested, told Connection Newspapers, that it felt “Like it was a setup or something.”

As reported by ThinkProgress, ““They were clearly targeting the church because they knew that they stayed here in the hypothermia shelter,” Rev. Keary Kincannon, a pastor at Rising Hope Mission Church, told NBC Washington. “So they were waiting for them to cross the street and then jump on them.””

Sharry concluded,

“Secretary Kelly, as of today it can be accurately stated that your agency is threatening our democracy, terrifying millions, misleading the country and doing nothing to discipline agents who engage in serious misconduct. What say you?