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Posts Tagged ‘Department of Homeland Security’

If you’re an un- or under-employed sadist, consider applying for a job with the Department of Homeland Security. You’d be a perfect fit for its workplace culture.

In late October, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested a 10-year-old girl with cerebral palsy immediately after emergency gall bladder surgery. Her crime? Being brought to this country illegally as an infant. Perhaps it was an effort to top what a sister agency, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, had done earlier in the month — rejecting dozens, if not more, DACA renewal applications because the post office had somehow managed to delay delivery of them for weeks until after the October 5th deadline. Although the USPS readily acknowledged its colossal failure, and most US agencies and other institutions set the postmark date as a deadline, USCIS has its own set of rules:

According to U.S.C.I.S. regulations, a request is considered received by U.S.C.I.S. as of the actual date of receipt at the location for filing such request,” Steve Blando, a spokesman for the agency, wrote in a statement. He added: “U.S.C.I.S. is not responsible for the mail service an individual chooses, or for delays on the part of mail service providers.”

So — when a government agency makes a mistake that can destroy a young person’s life, it’s more imperative to abide by bureaucratic boilerplate than to exercise some flexibility and accommodation that will prevent irrevocable damage? This is the refuge of the brainless and heartless, Exhibit A for a mean-spirited agency that is out of control in its relentless execution of Trumpian malevolence.

Its website provides contact information for reporting employee “misconduct, corruption, fraud, mismanagement, wasteful activities, and allegations of civil rights or civil liberties abuse.” Accepting the invitation, I called the phone number provided, 800-323-8603, and communicated my disgust to an actual person. I encourage everyone else to do likewise.

[November 15, 2017 update: USCIS will now allow individuals whose DACA renewal applications were originally rejected because of mail delays to resubmit their paperwork. One would like to think that this policy reversal was a harbinger of things to come, i.e., a more humane approach to immigration, but short of a Donald Trump heart transplant, let’s not hold our breath.]

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Friday’s newspapers reported that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency had stepped up its “enforcement actions” (otherwise known as raids) in cities across the nation in order to arrest and deport illegal immigrants. Unlike previous dragnets during Obama’s presidency that focused only on violent criminals, these could potentially include anyone who fit the broad criteria outlined in Trump’s executive order of January 25th — basically any undocumented immigrant.

A spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security claimed that this week’s activity was a routine targeting of dangerous lawbreakers, and denied reports that checkpoints had been used. The administration’s ambivalent statements on the subject did nothing to assuage the panic and fear gripping at-risk minority communities. From the NY Times:

In Austin, Tex., undocumented women working in a laundromat cowered in the back of the room, petrified after seeing a video and a photograph of apprehensions outside a local grocery store and burger joint.

A day laborer and mechanic in Staten Island told his 17-year-old son where the list of emergency contacts were, including the name of the guardian who would take responsibility for him and his two younger siblings.

In Savannah, Ga., undocumented restaurant workers were asking for rides rather than walking home, afraid they might be stopped and questioned.

(more…)

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