Note: Thx to M3 Report for this one. Pretty much verified by
personal experience dealing with agency.
ICE Considered One Of The Worst Places To Work In The Federal Government
from the maybe-if-they-spent-time-not-censoring-the-web dept
Last month, we noted the odd propaganda film from ICE director John
Morton, in which he seemed to be trying to pat himself on the back
and pump up the morale of ICE agents for their hard work in illegally
censoring the internet. Perhaps it's because he knew that ICE agents
apparently hate working there. An anonymous person pointed us to the
news that in a recent ranking of government agencies, ICE ranked very
near the bottom -- 222 out of 240 agencies. It seems that morale
isn't particularly high there.
The same person pointed us to the news of a leaked memo from Morton
concerning his disappointment about these rankings, and planning some
sort of typical bureaucratic response to bad rankings: appointing
someone to lead the effort to improve morale, looking at other
agencies with happier employees and hosting some townhall meetings.
Perhaps he could also try keeping ICE agents focused on issues
related to their actual mandate, rather than having them work on
seizing domain names and censoring the internet. Just a thought.
Note: a god bit of spin, among other things, last we knew it was a
free ride home. Also last we knew, most Mexicans have never trusted
law enforcement, long before they ever came here. For very good
reason in Mexico.
Report: Laws don't make illegal immigrants 'self-deport'
February 25, 2012 9:58 PM
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DUSTIN VOLZ - CRONKITE NEWS SERVICE
WASHINGTON — Strong family ties, the cost of returning to their
native countries and fewer economic opportunities back home have kept
illegal immigrants in the U.S., despite strict immigration laws here,
a new report claims.
The report, released this week by the Center for American Progress,
said tough laws like Arizona's SB 1070 do not prompt illegal
immigrants to "self-deport." Instead, those people either stay where
they are, but "in the shadows," or they move to neighboring cities,
counties or states, it said.
"There is really no evidence to show that people go back to Mexico
when their states or localities pass anti-immigration laws," said
Leah Muse-Orlinoff, a doctoral student at the University of
California-San Diego and the author of the report. "In the most
extreme cases, they move to another jurisdiction."
But Kris Kobach, the Kansas secretary of state who co-authored SB
1070 and a similar law passed last year in Alabama, questioned
findings of the report, "Staying Put but Still in the Shadows."
"It's a shoddy report because they haven't considered all the
evidence," Kobach said.
He pointed to lawmakers in the Mexican state of Sonora who expressed
concern about illegal immigrants returning home and being jobless
after Arizona's E-Verify law took effect in 2008. That law requires
employers to check the immigration status of any prospective employee.
"When Mexican public officials are telling us that illegal aliens are
self-deporting, we should take that information and consider it as
true," he said.
Muse-Orlinoff said fewer immigrants are coming in to the country now
because of increased border security, coupled with higher costs of
crossing and less economic opportunity in the U.S. But those who are
already here are staying put because the "mental arithmetic" of
leaving doesn't add up, she said.
She called the policy of "attrition through enforcement" irrational
and said that laws like SB 1070, Arizona's omnibus immigration law,
make policing more difficult.
"The biggest detriment by far with these state and local laws is that
it creates tremendous distrust and fear between migrant communities
and law enforcement," Muse-Orlinoff said.
Muse-Orlinoff's report is based primarily on surveys and interviews
conducted in Oklahoma City between 2009 and 2010. Oklahoma passed
laws cracking down on illegal immigration in 2007 and 2009, before
Arizona passed SB 1070 in April 2010.
Lt. Paco Balderrama of the Oklahoma City Police Department said the
laws passed in his state made Hispanics afraid to call authorities
when violent crimes were committed, because they feared deportation.
He said criminals now target the Hispanic community because people
there were thought to be less likely to report the crime.
"We'll never have the numbers of people who didn't call," Balderrama
said. "It doesn't benefit anyone for Hispanics to not call the
police ... the fact is those crimes are going to spread."
Kobach agreed with at least part of the report, that illegal
immigrants do sometimes relocate to states with lesser immigration
laws, and suggested that some in Arizona may have moved to California.
But he said there are no numbers suggesting immigrants do not also
return to their home countries, especially in a border state like
Read more: http://www.yumasun.com/articles/laws-77040-report-
Note: worth the time to read.
Between 2 worlds: Former undercover agent infiltrated smuggling rings
by Ramón Rentería \ El Paso Times
Posted: 02/26/2012 12:00:00 AM MST
Hipolito Acosta grew up on the border in Redford, Texas. As a special
agent of what was then the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization
Service, he spent part of his career as an undercover agent in the
high-stakes game of human smuggling.
Mexican coyotes smuggled Hipolito "Poli" Acosta into California in
the trunk of an old 1968 Chevy Nova that leaked carbon monoxide into
the coffinlike space.
"I did things nobody had ever done and nobody will ever do because
things have changed so much," Acosta said.
Acosta, the son of Mexican-American migrant workers from Redford,
Texas, infiltrated the dangerous, deadly underworld of criminal
cartels involving illegal immigrant smugglers in Mexico, Central and
South America, Europe, the Far East and the Middle East.
He was once based in El Paso and Juárez.
Acosta, 58, describes some of his assignments as a former federal
undercover special agent in "The Shadow Catcher," a memoir scheduled
to be released in April by Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster.
"Being locked in the trunk of a car was probably one of the most
exasperating situations I encountered during my undercover
operations," Acosta writes about the California smuggling case in
which he shared the trunk with a 16-year-old boy from El Salvador. "I
felt completely out of control and the claustrophobic feeling was
He used a baseball cap to plug a hole in the trunk that was sucking
in deadly carbon monoxide from the muffler.
On another case, Acosta was locked in the back of a U-Haul truck with
a group of immigrants smuggled from Juárez on their way to Chicago
without food or water. He once infiltrated a gang of international
counterfeiters. Another time, he wound up in the Juárez jail where
authorities revealed his identity to his criminal cellmates.
Acosta also was the target of multiple death threats for sending bad
guys to prison during his three decades as a federal agent who
routinely participated in undercover operations and later supervised
various high-profile investigations.
The book is billed as a rare insider's glimpse into the high-stakes
game of human smuggling, drug running and counterfeiting.
The co-author is Lisa Pulitzer, a former correspondent for the New
York Times and best-selling author who also helped write a 2007
nonfiction book, "Daughters of Juárez: A True Story of Serial Murder
South of the Border," with Univision's Teresa Rodriguez.
Some of Acosta's colleagues and supervisors describe him as a down-to-
earth, street-wise criminal investigator. They also describe Acosta
as one of the best undercover agents in the history of what was then
the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service.
The book has already generated positive early buzz in some literary
Acosta, a first-time author, has been invited to the 17th Los Angeles
Book Festival April 21-22, which this year is featuring well-known
authors such as Luis Alberto Urrea, Judy Blume and Dan Chaon. A
Spanish version of the book is scheduled for release in May.
"Hipolito Acosta's world has been one of shadows and danger of a kind
seldom seen or imagined by the average American," Hugh Aynesworth of
the Washington Times wrote, praising the book in advance.
Acosta retired in Texas after 30 years in federal law enforcement. He
is one of the most highly decorated officers in the history of the
old Immigration and Naturalization Service.
He also worked as a criminal investigator in Chicago, as a special
agent with the Border Patrol in El Paso and as a supervisory special
agent in Brownsville.
"I worked undercover cases, sometimes by myself, for long periods of
time," Acosta said. "I infiltrated rings that had never been
The book suggests that the U.S. conducted various undercover
operations in Mexico without the knowledge or blessing of Mexican
authorities, who usually could not be trusted.
Brian Perryman, now retired after more than 30 years in federal law
enforcement, was the acting head of the anti-smuggling unit in
Chicago when Acosta arrived as a young investigator trainee in the
mid-1970s. Acosta and two of his partners helped transform the unit
into a model anti-smuggling unit.
Perryman remembers Acosta for his sense of humor and for being honest
even when he made mistakes.
"Not just anybody can do undercover work. You have to be a particular
type of personality, a person that can think on his feet and make the
right calls," Perryman said.
"Poli was all of those things. And he had the ability to gain trust,
not only from me, his supervisor, but also the crooks."
Perryman described one case in which Acosta infiltrated a $1-million-
a-year human-trafficking operation out of Tijuana.
"He was tremendously brave and always in control. As he progressed as
a special agent, he really set the standard," Perryman said. "Poli is
probably one of the best undercover agents I've seen operate in the
Department of Justice. The people that he worked with had the utmost
confidence in him."
Acosta retired in 2005 after working as district director for the
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in Houston.
"I thought the book would give me a platform. The old INS, the Border
Patrol, was a great agency with a lot of responsibilities and few
resources but much maligned," Acosta said. "We were a whipping boy
for the politicians and the Department of Justice."
He is often critical of leaders who do not have the political will to
tackle sensitive issues such as immigration reform.
"We have a responsibility to address the issue of immigration, but
let's not hide behind the curtain of 'not until the border is
secure,' a catch-all phrase," he said.
"There's a lot of double talk. If employers know they're going to
jail if they have illegal aliens, that will stop illegal immigration."
Acosta suggests that the nation has no choice but to also address
what to do with the estimated 15 million undocumented people already
in the United States.
Bert Avila of El Paso, a retired immigration criminal investigator,
described Acosta as a mentor who worked long hours.
"From what I know about undercover agents up and down the border, I
rank him as the number one undercover agent when it came down to
infiltrating alien smuggling organizations" Avila said. "We made a
lot of great, multiple defendant alien smuggling cases."
Avila, a former Border Patrol intelligence officer and liaison with
Mexican law enforcement in Juárez, came to the rescue when Acosta was
arrested and jailed in Juárez while conducting an undercover alien
Acosta managed to call the Border Patrol in El Paso. But he worried
about his fate if he wasn't bailed out in a hurry.
"A number of cops had sadistically bragged about methods they used to
extract confessions," Acosta writes. "Mexican cops were waterboarding
experts before the American public ever heard of that torture method."
Mexican officials were extremely angered that he was carrying a gun
and working undercover without their knowledge. Avila called various
high-level contacts in Juárez and asked them to intervene.
"Poli Acosta was a positive influence on me big time. He's so down-to-
earth that he never minimizes people," Avila said.
Acosta doesn't brag about his achievements or the dangerous
assignments he accepted. He points out that he always took precautions.
"I went after criminals, those people who abused not only our laws
but the people who were seeking a better way of life," he said. "I
took my job seriously and enforced the law but I'm also human. How
can you not relate to the emotional drama in immigration?"
Ramón Rentería may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 546-6146.
Hipolito Acosta rose through the ranks from Border Patrol agent to a
key administrative position in the Department of Homeland Security.
Acosta worked as a criminal investigator, special agent and
supervisory special agent on the front lines of the United States'
fight against illegal immigrant smuggling rings.
The son of Mexican-American migrant workers, Acosta was one of the
most highly decorated officers in the history of the Immigration and
Naturalization Service during his 30 years in the the U.S. government.
An expert in immigration, Acosta has been interviewed on ABC, CNN,
NBC, NPR, Voice of America, Telemundo and Univision, as well as by
various print publications.
Acosta was the district director of U.S. Citizenship & Immigration
Services in Houston in his last assignment before retiring in 2005.
He lives in Texas.
Copies of his book, "The Shadow Catcher," may be ordered through
simonandschuster.com, amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com and other