Ever since President Donald Trump assumed office, his administration has been pushing immigration officials to be tougher on the undocumented immigrants — especially those with a criminal record.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents abused their powers and started detaining people without any background checks. It has now emerged that the-then secretary of Homeland Security, John Kelly, created a false narrative to justify those detentions.
According to The Intercept, Kelly issued a directive to ICE agents across the country to portray the undocumented immigrants as criminals in order justify the raids.
Emails obtained through Freedom of Information Act show that while the raids were being conducted, the Department of Homeland Security was busy implying a narrative that the detentions were motivated by public safety concerns.
The email exchange also reveals that the department ordered ICE officials to highlight “three egregious cases” that could be highlighted in the media. However, what came out as a shocking development is that the request made in the email was sent out by Kelly himself.
The subject line of the emails states “Due Tonight for S1 – URGENT.” The secretary of Homeland Security is reportedly referred to as S1 in the department.
The emails, which were exchanged in February, issued a directive by an ICE executive on request of Kelly. It read, “Please put together a white paper covering the three most egregious cases. If a location has only one egregious case — then include an extra egregious case from another city.”
Internal emails that followed after the order showed how ICE agents battled to comply with Kelly’s request.
An ICE agent in Texas said, “I have been pinged by HQ this morning indicating that we failed at this tasking.”
To that message, an assistant field officer said, "As soon as you come in, your sole focus today will be compiling three egregious case write-ups. HQ and SNA will ping us in the afternoon for sure."
The agent later sent another email stating that officers had “just picked up a criminal a few minutes ago, so get with him for your first egregious case.”
At the time of raids, Kelly was secretary of Homeland Security. However, in July he took over as White House chief of staff, replacing Reince Priebus.
The exchange goes to show how hard the agents and the department were trying to send out a narrative that was false and forced. They were keen to highlight the most extreme cases in the media in order to portray all detainees as criminals.
The orders by Kelly were reportedly given so the media would be distracted from the innocent people who had been detained.
Although Trump’s orders originally intended to keep “bad dudes” out of the U.S., the raids later became more discriminatory with time. ICE agents have started picking up people who, like Maribel Trujillo Diaz , have no criminal background.
A similar incident took place in May when ICE agents detained 26-year-old Edwin Reyes-Guillen, who also had no criminal record.
What is even more repugnant is that the orders were given directly by the secretary of the department himself just to be loyal to a president who lied about undocumented immigrants to defend his own stance.
Unfortunately, authorities have lost all morals and are playing with the lives and future of innocent people.
Not a surprise but still quite repugnant. https://t.co/iZwnKKVq40— Accidental Socialist (@AccidentalSocia) October 17, 2017
More on those ICE emails I got — The order to portray immigrants as criminals came directly from DHS Secretary https://t.co/by6ncP8hsa— Alice Speri (@alicesperi) October 16, 2017
A directive to portray undocumented immigrants as criminals came directly from former DHS Secretary John Kelly. https://t.co/nUI1uQ1MOg— ANTONIO ARELLANO (@AntonioArellano) October 16, 2017
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly Ordered ICE to Portray Immigrants as Criminals to Justify Raids https://t.co/fRAUJtMK66— Ryan Grim (@ryangrim) October 17, 2017
Banner/Thumbnail: (Reuters, Yuri Gripas)