The Deep State saboteurs in ICE SVU have struck again. Some time ago a patriot in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) decided to use one of the many tools which are available for immigration enforcement but have never been used before, in this case fines directed against illegal aliens who fail to depart, codified in Title 8 United States Code Section 1324d, Civil Penalties For Failure To Depart.
These are monetary fines directed against illegal aliens who have had their due process in the immigration courts, the Executive Office For Immigration Review (EOIR), and failed to leave the United States when legally ordered.
While most illegal aliens don’t have much cash assets, real property, or valuable tangible property, most have some, even real property, that can be seized or converted to pay the fine. This is just another tool in the immigration law enforcement toolbox. It is not a wonder weapon, just another tool, albeit an effective tool, as exemplified by the reaction of the illegal aliens and their supporters.
Sadly though, there is a member of the Resistance high up in ICE who is sabotaging the use of this tool, all to the benefit of illegal aliens, aiding them to remain in the United States. And it is President Trump that is made to look bad. Why is Stephen Miller allowing this? Why is Matthew Albence, Acting Director at ICE, allowing this to happen?
The Trump administration is withdrawing hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines against some immigrants in the country illegally who have sought refuge in churches.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has withdrawn the fines, ranging from $300,000 to nearly $500,000, for five immigrants living in sanctuary conditions around the country, according to the National Sanctuary Collective, which works with the families.
Edith Espinal Moreno, who has been living in a church in Ohio over the past two years, received a notice from ICE in June telling her that she owed $497,000 for “failing to depart the U.S. as previously agreed,” among other factors.
[Trump Administration Withdraws Huge Fines For Some Immigrants In U.S. Illegally, by Franco Ordonez, NPR, October 22, 2019]
This is in direct contradiction of orders from President Trump to use fines to punish and discourage illegal immigration. However, someone at ICE SVU has decided that they make immigration policy, not President Trump. It is similar to the Ukrainian controversy, which is steeped in the anger that State Department bureaucrats have over being ignored in the making of foreign policy. The Deep State wants to make foreign policy and immigration policy.
The latest round of letters withdrawing the fines is a significant reversal for the administration. When he took office in 2017, President Trump signed an executive order that promised to begin collection of “all fines and penalties that the Secretary is authorized under the law to assess and collect from aliens unlawfully present in the United States.”
So, it appears that Acting Director Albence is a Deep State saboteur. Well, perhaps not. He may just be following bad legal advice about fines and ICE’s discretion to impose those fines, bad legal advice from the lawyers at ICE, the Office of the Principal Legal Advisor (OPLA), who are themselves well known saboteurs in the immigration enforcement bureaucracy, actively interfering with and sabotaging immigration enforcement at ICE. I wrote about them concerning another legal issue, interior enforcement by Deportation Officers in the public space, i.e. arresting illegal aliens using traffic stops and other arrests of illegal aliens in public referred to in agency jargon as Area Control. [The ICE “Office of the Principal Legal Advisor”—#DeepState Saboteurs, December 6, 2017]
I believe that the real culprit at ICE SVU is Tracy Short, Principal Legal Advisor, head of the OPLA. He appears to be frightened of the power of the civil fines against illegal aliens and is actively giving faulty legal advice to ICE about the legal basis of fines and surrendering to the faulty legal arguments against fines. The article leaves some clues to this.
Pro-immigrant advocates charged the administration with trying to instill fear and confusion in immigrant communities, hoping people would leave. They reported similar letters being received by immigrants in similar situations in North Carolina, Utah, Virginia and Texas.
“For almost three years now these women in sanctuary have been on the front lines of taking on the Trump administration,” Mohammad Abdollahi, advocate with the National Sanctuary Collective, said. “This victory shows that the women in sanctuary are not only fighting for themselves but everybody. Others should stand up with them.”
It appears that Tracy Short agrees with open political opponents of President Trump and informed ICE to withdraw the fines.
Espinal’s attorney, Lizbeth Mateo, called the fines exorbitant and illegal.
“We know we have strong legal arguments and ICE recognizes that, even if they claim that this decision was based only on discretion,” Mateo said in a statement. “But even if that were the case, ICE has demonstrated with this that they have the power to exercise discretion — the same way they can use discretion to drop these fines, they can use it to release the sanctuary families.”
There are, of course, no legal arguments against the fines. The ability of the government to fine individuals for violations of the law is well established. While an individual defendant can make a claim that a fine is excessive, also well established, that does not make the fine go away, it is just the start of a negotiation to a lower fine, in this case perhaps down from $500,000.00 to $250,000.00. Having done this before in other law enforcement actions, the big number is just a starting point and the government’s first demand is usually double of what the government will settle for. What usually does not happen is the complete and abject surrender to a defendant without any legal defense.
And abject surrender it is. In this case the highlighted illegal alien, Edith Espinal Moreno, continues to publicly defy her deportation order and live openly in a church.
While relieved to no longer be facing such steep fines, Espinal said she still doesn’t feel safe and will continue to live under the protection of the church.
“We don’t have any other option than to remain in sanctuary, or I’ll be deported,” Espinal said. “We have to keep fighting.”
There we have it, it appears Tracy Short and Edith Espinal Moreno are on the same team. Time for President Trump to fire Short and arrest Moreno. How about President Trump do to her what Bill Clinton did to Elian Gonzalez? Get that Blackies Warrant and arrest this scofflaw. I know that ICE SVU has been training people on Blackies Warrants, time to use them!