(WASHINGTON)-The American Federation of Government Employees National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council 118 today called on ICE management to immediately cease what the union is calling a witch hunt to determine which ICE employee provided the Washington Post with internal documents detailing quotas for ICE agents.
On March 27, 2010, in an article titled "ICE Officials Set Quotas to Deport More Illegal Immigrants" the Washington Post released internal documents from senior level ICE officials implementing controversial new quotas requiring individual ICE agents and ICE offices to reach specific arrest numbers by targeting certain groups of illegal immigrants, to include non-criminal groups. Prior to this revelation, ICE Director John Morton had publicly said, "I just don't think that a law enforcement program should be based on a hard number that must be met, so we don't have quotas anymore."
AFGE Council 118 immediately called on ICE Executive Director James Chaparro to rescind the memo that he authored, only to be told not to email him late at night because there was no urgency to the matter.
"The memo still has not been rescinded, and to make matters worse, ICE this week launched an unfounded and bigoted investigation against at least one ICE agent charging that he released the documents used in the Washington Post story," AFGE Council 118 President Chris Crane said. "The only thing connecting this agent to the Washington Post article is that he and the reporter both have of Asian-American names. This screams of racism. It's a flat-out witch hunt. ICE leaders got caught doing something they shouldn't have been doing, and now they want revenge and are targeting their own employees."
The agent under investigation has been harshly interrogated on at least one occasion and internal investigators from the ICE Office of Professional Responsibility attempted to coerce the agent into a polygraph examination without representation. The agent has maintained his innocence throughout.
"The documents given to the Post did not breach security or compromise operations. Whoever released the documents performed a public service," Crane said. "Director Morton made a public commitment that arrest quotas would not be used at ICE, but the Agency did it anyway, and they did it in secret. Congress and the American public have a right to know what's going on inside these federal agencies."