As part on an Intercept investigation into immigration policies under President Donald Trump, a cache of internal emails revealed that Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials were instructed to portray undocumented immigrants as criminals to justify unpopular mass raids.
According to the emails — obtained by students at Vanderbilt University Law School using the Freedom of Information Act — DHS higher-ups instructed department officials to make a concerted effort to “put together a white paper covering the three most egregious cases,” of criminality in their respective cities.
Of note, is the fact that the subject line on the email state: “Due Tonight for S1 – URGENT” — with “S1” — referring to then-Homeland Security head Gen. John Kelly who now serves at President Trump’s chief of staff.
The emails also encouraged officials to use cases from other cities to pump up the narrative for the media if they were unable to compile a mere three incidents, with the instructions stating: “If a location has only one egregious case — then include an extra egregious case from another city.”
The report notes that a day after the original email, an agent at ICE’s San Antonio office responded, saying the team had come up short and writing, “I have been pinged by HQ this morning indicating that we failed at this tasking.”
“As soon as you come in, your sole focus today will be compiling three egregious case write-ups,” an assistant field office director at the agency’s Austin Resident Office wrote, expreesing impatience and adding, “HQ and SNA will ping us in the afternoon for sure.”
A field agent reported that a team of officers had “just picked up a criminal a few minutes ago, so get with him for your first egregious case.”
According to the report, ICE ramped up mass raids in February of 2017, shortly after Trump was inaugurated.
You can read the whole report here.