Internal memos sent to Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents acquired by The Intercept show the agency pressured them to compile lists of the "three most egregious" cases in each city as justification for the widespread February 10 raids directed by President Donald Trump.
In a directive with the word "URGENT" in the subject line, city chiefs were instructed to "put together a white paper covering the three most egregious cases” in each city. The email, sent by ICE's acting chief of staff for their Enforcement and Removal Operations divisions, also said "if a location has only one egregious case — then include an extra egregious case from another city."
The documents, acquired from a Freedom of Information Act sent by law students at Vanderbilt University, also show that ICE heads in San Antonio and Austin, Texas were reprimanded for "failing at this tasking," and pressured their subordinates after the initial directive was sent to come up with "egregious cases" faster.
"As soon as you come in, your sole focus today will be compiling three egregious case write-ups," a senior official at ICE's office in Austin wrote in one of the redacted emails from the FOIA request. Because officers had "just picked up a criminal" that afternoon, the official said agents should use the person arrested for their first "egregious case."