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Tag: John Morton

ICE Director John Morton Plans to Leave Agency in July

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

ICE Director John Morton, who oversaw a spike in immigrant deportations, announced he’s leaving the agency, UPI reports.

Morton, who was unanimously confirmed by the Senate in May 2009, said he plans to leave the agency at the end of July.

“I am extremely proud of what we have accomplished together during that time and look with awe on the incredible progress ICE has made as an agency,” Morton said in a memo to employees Monday. “ICE has truly come of age and become an innovative, leading force in federal law enforcement.”

Under Obama’s administration, the emphasis of ICE has shifted from general deportation to targeting dangerous illegal immigrants.

Column: Agents Continue to Have “No Confidence” in ICE Chief John Morton

Janice Kephart is the Director of National Security Policy at the Center for Immigration Studies.

Janice Kephart

Janice Kephart
Security DeBrief

On June 23, 2011, a press release was issued by the union representing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) employees stating that ICE “Union leaders around the nation issued a unanimous no confidence vote in ICE Director John Morton on behalf of ICE officers, agents and employees nationwide citing gross mismanagement within the Agency as well as efforts within ICE to create backdoor amnesty through agency policy. ICE Union leaders say that since the no confidence vote was released problems within the Agency have increased [emphasis added].” The full Union release is in my colleague Jon Feere’s blog.

Last year, I began a series entitled “ICE’s Mission Melt” that provided evidence of exactly why ICE agents are complaining at an unprecedented high volume about ICE leadership undermining not only their ability to do their job, but their job security if they try to do their job.

In June 2010, I made public an unreleased memo providing detail of ICE Union employees being kept from enforcing immigration law. The memo even spoke of unsafe policies that, “prevented [ICE officers] from searching detainees housed in ICE facilities allowing weapons, drugs and other contraband into detention centers putting detainees, ICE officers and contract guards at risk.”

This time PR Newswire carried the ICE Union’s strong statements. The basis for the second no confidence vote in a year by the union was another memo by ICE director John Morton, this time on prosecutorial discretion.

To read full column click here.

ICE Busts 678 Gang Members and Associates in Massive Crackdown Involving 168 U.S. Cities


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials announced Tuesday the arrests of 678 suspected gang members and associates, many with alleged ties to drug organizations around the world from Mexico to South America and Asia.

Dubbed “Project Southern Tempest”, ICE and and Homeland Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) said investigators targeted 168 U.S. cities with gangs that had affiliations with drug trafficking organizations. More than 46 percent of those arrested were members or associates of gangs tied to the drug organizations, ICE said.

Authorities said the operation ran from December 2010 to February.

“Project Southern Tempest is the largest ever ICE-led gang enforcement operation targeting gangs with ties to drug trafficking organizations,” ICE Director John Morton said in a statement.

“Through gang enforcement operations like Project Southern Tempest and Project Big Freeze last year, ICE will continue to disrupt and dismantle these transnational gangs and rid our streets not only of drug dealers, but the violence associated with the drug trade,” he said.

Authorities said there were 133 different gang affiliations and those arrested came from 24 countries in South and Central America, Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. ICE said the gangs were also involved in such crimes and robberies and murders.

ICE Dir. John Morton Vows to Go After Mexican Gunmen Who Killed One Agent and Wounded Another

Dir. John Morton

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton on Tuesday vowed to go after the gunmen who fatally shot ICE agent Jaime J. Zapata and wounded agent Victor Avila in an ambush along a road in Mexico last week.

“Together, the United States and Mexico will bring the long, hard arm of the law down on Jaime and Victor’s shooters,” Morton told a crowd at the funeral of Zapata’s at the Brownsville Events Center in Brownsville, Tex. Agent Avila was shot twice in the leg.

“Together we will look after our people. Together we will continue to see that Jaime and Victor’s work is done and that the rule of law triumphs over lawlessness and empty violence. There is no other way. Acquiescing to the rule of criminals consigns our children, Mexico’s children to a hopeless and empty path. My friends: no retreat, no compromise. Our cause is just, our cause is right, there is no other way.”

Morton, who was joined by other dignitaries including Atty. General Eric Holder Jr. and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, continued, according to the text of his speech:

“Jaime died at the hands of gunmen on a highway in the state of San Luis Potosi in Mexico, a long, long way from home. His death was a dark moment – an unspeakable loss for his parents, for his four brothers, for his fiancé Stacye. It was also a dark day for ICE and all of Jaime’s fellow agents and officers.”

ICE Agent Jaime Zapata /ice photo

“I submit to you, however, that as dark as this moment is, Jaime’s life is really all about light. Everyone in this room will eventually meet his or her Maker, and the real question on that day won’t be how we died but how we lived. When it’s my turn, I want to say that I lived like Jaime.”

Nearly 1000 mourners filled the Brownsville Events Center for the mass, according to The Brownsville Herald.  Zapata came from a family of law enforcement members. His father was in law enforcement and one brothers works at ICE and , another in Customs and Border Protection.

Attorney General Holder remarked: “Like so many others who serve this nation in law enforcement, Agent Zapata could have chosen an easier path through life.

“But he was always drawn to public service – and to the work of protecting his fellow citizens and defending America’s security. And he was willing to give what Abraham Lincoln called that “last full measure of devotion” to the nation that he loved – and to the struggle for peace and the cause of justice, within and beyond our borders.”

Az. Sheriffs Call Visit by ICE’s John Morton “Political Stunt”

John Morton

John Morton

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

These have not been fun days for John Morton, who heads up U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The union representing ICE agents just issued a vote of “no confidence” for him.  And on Tuesday, two key sheriffs along the Arizona-Mexico border sharply criticized him.

The sheriffs, according to the Washington Times, called Morton’s planned visit to Arizona on Wednesday a “political stunt” and claimed it was the Obama administration’s attempt to “cover up its inaction in protecting our borders,” the Washington Times reported.

“The administration blew past their promised Aug. 1 deadline to send 524 National Guard troops to Arizona, and now they are trying to appear concerned by sending the ICE director, who recently received a vote of ‘no confidence’ by ICE’s union,” Arizona Sheriffs Paul Babeu of Pinal County and Larry Dever of Cochise County said in a statement, the Washington Times reported.

The paper said ICE did not respond for comment.

ICE Agents Vote “No Confidence” in Head of Agency

John Morton

John Morton

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The union that represents field agents at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is giving the top management an icy  “vote of no confidence”, the Washington Times reported.

The paper reported that the rank and file vote was unanimous, and that agents say the leadership had “abandoned” its core mission to support a political agenda favoring amnesty.

The Washington Times said the National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council of the American Federation of Government Employees voted 259-0 for resolution expressing a lack of confidence in the head of ICE, Assistant Secretary John Morton and Phyllis Coven, assistant director for the agency’s office of detention policy and planning.

To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

ICE Working to Rebrand Its Image

John Morton

John Morton

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement known as ICE has an image problem.

So ICE Assistant Secretary John Morton plans to “re-brand”, realign its duties and emphasize criminal investigations over immigrant deportations, the Washington Post is reporting.

“By streamlining and renaming several offices, officials hope to highlight the agency’s counterterrorism, money laundering and other complex criminal investigations and in the process “re-brand” ICE, turning the public — and political — spotlight away from its immigration work,” the Post wrote.

To read full story click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

ICE Chief Announces End to Quotas on Controversial Program

Quotas open the door for people to question motives of law enforcement. Are agents just making arrests to fill quotas?

John Morton/ice photo

John Morton/ice photo

By Anna Gorman
Los Angeles Times
The head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced today (Monday)  that he has ended quotas on a controversial program designed to go after illegal immigrants who have ignored deportation orders and that he planned to make more changes to the program soon.

John Morton, who took over as head of the federal agency in May, said during a meeting with reporters in Los Angeles that the program needs to do what it was created to do — target absconders who have already had their day in court.

“The fugitive operations program needs to focus first and foremost on people who have knowingly flouted an immigration removal order and within that category obviously we will focus first on criminals,” he said.

For Full Story