UPDATE: A former Immigration and Customs Enforcement attorney was just sentenced to four years in prison for stealing the identities of multiple immigrants facing deportation.
To aid in his crimes, Raphael A. Sanchez used databases and computers belonging to ICE.
In the growing movement of #AbolishICE, this latest incident is a strangely ironic symbol of ICE's detrimental impact on immigrants.
A top immigration and customs enforcement attorney stands accused of stealing the identities of seven immigrants while ICE processed their cases.
Raphael A. Sanchez, who was ICE’s top attorney in its Seattle office, reportedly stole identities of seven immigrants over a time span of four years for financial gain, while their cases were being reviewed by the federal immigration agency.
The chief counsel resigned shortly after the allegations, after an indictment was filed against him. He faces one count of aggravated identity theft and another for wire fraud.
According to prosecutors with the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section Sanchez stole identities of seven people “in various stages of immigration proceedings” to defraud credit card companies, including American Express, Bank of America and Capital One.
Sanchez also forwarded personal information of one of the victims with his official ICE email address to his Yahoo account. The email contained a copy of a Chinese passport, an energy bill and a U.S. residence card.
According to the complaint, the case was lead by the Department of Justice's Public Integrity Section in Washington, D.C., which oversees corruption cases involving public officials. Sanchez and his lawyer, Cassandra Stamm, did not comment on questions pertaining to the case.
Officials with the Department of Justice also did not respond to the questions.
This case brings forth the kind of power abuse possible by an ICE attorney. Ever since Donald Trump was elected, his administration has been pushing immigration officials to be tougher on undocumented immigrants — especially toward those with a criminal history.
Deportation raids and travel bans have increased dramatically, but these antics have nothing to do with the legal or illegal status of Americans, nor does it have much to do with national security, because if that was the case Sanchez wouldn’t have been using information of immigrants for financial gains.
If anything, these strategies are racist and they prevent people of color from living a normal life for themselves under Trump’s regime.
Thumbnail/Banner Image: Reuters, Lucy Nicholson