Office of the Director Field Legal Operations
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
P.O. Box 30080
Laguna Niguel, CA 92607-0080
|U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement|
June 20, 2004
Re: Matter of Barrios-Castilla
Dear Ms. Schloerb:
I have just received a copy of the letter of complaint that you sent to the Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR) regarding this case. As an initial matter, I am very pleased that you perceive yourself as having been well treated and well served by our employees in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). I appreciate your belief that the attorneys who work under my direction have handled this matter conscientiously and professionally. Their efforts in this matter exemplify the concern that these cases have for us and the reason Assistant Secretary Michael Garcia launched the Predator Initiative. We in ICE believe that removing aliens who prey on children is a significant part of our mission in the Department of Homeland Security and we have committed significant resources and time to achieving this result.
I read your letters with tears in my eyes. I empathize with you because I am a father and a grandfather. I am shocked that people can even commit these kinds of crimes. I cannot conceive the pain this behavior causes to children and parents. I share your very well stated concern that these offenders cause harm not only if they repeat the conduct but also simply if they remain here in this country. A victimized child should not live in fear and dread of a chance an encounter with someone who has violated her.
I also want to sincerely thank you and your daughters for being willing to testify and for suffering through this traumatic ordeal. ICE lawyers make every effort to give victims and their parents the opportunity to correctly present the facts because a violator often tries to minimize his crime. It is also important that you are able to share with the court that these violations have lifetime consequences to the victims and to your families. I'm pleased to say that this testimony often sways the Immigration Judge and the Board of Immigration Appeals to assist us in getting removal orders. I'm very sorry that it hasn't succeeded, so far, in this particular matter. We believe the present result is unjust and we hope our appeal changes that decision.
I'm writing this letter to personally express my sorrow for the difficulties you encountered; difficulties beyond what anyone should suffer and certainly beyond what we expected when we presented you and your daughters for testimony. We would win a lot fewer cases if it weren't for people such as you who willing testify and persist in coming to court in spite of how emotionally difficult it is to you. In that event, the bad guys would win and remain here with the potential to do harm to other young children. Thank you for doing this on behalf of the children we all desire to protect!
William B. Odencrantz
Director, Field Legal Operations