U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent in Charge Clark Settles just surrendered the authority of ICE HSI, violated his Oath of Office, publically stated his employees will not enforce the laws of the United States, surrendered his supervisory authority over his employees to some municipal flatfoot, and publically insulted the cadre of Deportation Officers and Immigration Enforcement Agents that put their lives on the line arresting illegal aliens.
After a closed meeting Tuesday with San Jose police and federal agents, immigrant rights advocates still oppose a new strategy for ridding the city of violent gang members who also are illegal immigrants.
"We feel as strongly in our opposition as we did before we walked in the door," said Raj Jayadev, director of Silicon Valley DeBug, a community organization for young adults. "It could still lead to the deportation of innocent people."
Jayadev and nine other advocates had a two-hour "question and answer" session with police Chief Chris Moore and federal officials about the deployment of two immigration agents with the city's Police Department. The agents, whose identities are being kept secret, started working with police at the beginning of the month.
A two and an half hour Q & A with advocates of criminal activity, to wit, illegal immigration. What next? Will ICE meet with representatives of Mexican cartels?
Clark Settles, head of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations unit in the Bay Area, insisted the agents will focus on arresting and deporting undocumented, violent gang members and are not interested in routine, "administrative deportations" of any peaceful illegal immigrants they discover along the way.
"We're criminal investigators, and we go after felons," said Settles, who was transferred from Washington, D.C., two weeks ago. He said the two agents wished to keep their identities private because they live in the area and want to protect their families from attacks.
It is clear that Settles considers himself of a higher caste of ICE employee. He is classified by the Office of Personnel Management as a ES-1811, an Senior Executive Service Criminal Investigator. Criminal Investigator is the OPM classification for a law enforcement employee who conducts criminal investigations. 1811 employees consider themselves to be "better" that other ICE and Customs and Border Protection employees who do the same work, but have different classifications and pay scedules; such as Border Patrol Agents (BPA), 1896, Customs and Border Protection Officers (CBPO), 1895, Deportation Officers (DO), 1801, and Immigration Enforcement Agents (IEA), 1801. However, their actual duties are the same, find, apprehend and remove illegl aliens. HSI does have some other duties, such as drug smuggling investigations that they share with the FBI and DEA, and their other main duty, the investigation of the importation of counterfeit goods. Much of that they share with CBP, Food and Drug Administration Office of Criminal Investigations, and the Fish and Wildlife Service. However, the agents assigned to the San Jose Police Department will not be conducting any major criminal investigations, especially if they are under the supervision of "gang officers." They will just be hooking up gangbangers and perhaps presenting them as criminal defendants for re-entry after deportation or felon with a gun. Simple charges that USBPA and CBPO-Enforcement (CBPO-E) do everyday as well. In border States that job is primarily handled by Border Patrol Agents, so you don't need to be an 1811 to do that. Nor is their any law or policy that prohibits DOs or IEAs from doing that as well. They routinely present cases of re-entry after deportation to United States Attorney's Offices as well, as do BPA and CBPO-Es.
For the most part Settles is just looking down his nose at his counterparts at Enforcement and Removal Operations. It is quite an insult to not only his co-workers at ICE's ERO, but also to BPAs and CBPO-Es.
Ever since Moore announced the embedding of the federal agents, he has been scrambling to win over community leaders and immigration rights advocates.
"I don't think everyone went home happy today," Moore said after Tuesday's meeting. "But I think they left with a better understanding."
Moore and Settles said the federal agents will not do any freelancing and will work under the direction of the police department's anti-gang officers.
"It takes time to build trust," Settles said.
Well, the illegl aliens went away happy, most of them have been given a free pass by Settles. And just who is he building trust with? Other illegal aliens? He is supposed to be arresting those illegal aliens. And what does "freelancing mean?" Doing one's job? That is how Settles describes an agent using their initiative and making arrests. And they will be supervised and directed by non-federal employees. Who are also not of the 1811 classification.
Jayadev said the number of arrests and deportations might eventually impress some people, but the strategy also carries a big risk.
His fear is that undocumented immigrants who become victims of crime or witness them will be reluctant to report the incidents once they learn that "secret" immigration agents are working with city police.
"That is really the core issue as far as we're concerned," he said.
One can contact Settles here and let him know that peaceful or otherwise, illegal aliens have to be arrested and deported and that is his job:
SAC San Francisco
630 Sansome Street, Room 890
San Francisco, CA 94111
Main (510) 267-3800
Fax (510) 267-3870
You can also contact the ICE ERO Field Office Director and let him know how little Settles thinks of his colleagues who are Deportation Officers and Immigration Enforcement Agents.
630 Sansome Street,
San Francisco, CA 94111
Phone: (415) 844-5512