Boston PD Is Helping ICE Track Down The City's Least Dangerous Immigrants

from the quantity-over-quality dept

It’s good to see ICE is still working hard to round up all these “bad hombres.” Instructed by the President to round up the hordes of undocumented criminals — each one more dangerous than the last — ICE and its parent agency (DHS) have struggled a bit to live up to Donald Trump’s imagination.

We were supposed to be overrun with rapists, murderers, and RICOists because President Barack “Thanks” Obama loved illegal immigrants more than he loved Americans, possibly due to his non-citizenship. But as ICE and DHS have come to realize, immigrants aren’t any more dangerous than natural citizens. In fact, they’re less dangerous than the average American, which makes it pretty difficult to focus only on the “worst of the worst.”

So, ICE has expanded its targeting. It has expanded this targeting as it has expanded its surveillance capabilities. Hundreds of law enforcement agencies across the US are willing to be ICE’s posse, helping it bypass federal restrictions and feeding the agency whatever information local cops think might be useful.

Boston radio station WBUR recently obtained hundreds of pages of emails from the Boston PD as the result of a public records request. The released documents show the PD is assisting ICE in its important work of ridding the city of dangerous… misdemeanants.

There is a regular pattern of communication between Boston police and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that includes emails regarding arrests for low-level offenses like trespassing and shoplifting, according to documents obtained by WBUR.

[…]

In emails reviewed by WBUR, Boston police and federal immigration officials regularly offer information back and forth between the agencies. Often, the agencies are comparing arrest records of individuals accused of non-felony violations — like operating a vehicle without a license and shoplifting — to see if they have potential civil immigration violations, and vice versa.

I guess this works out for the Boston PD. It frees up its officers to tackle serious crimes and actually dangerous criminals. I mean, theoretically. This information-sharing doesn’t appear to be linked to any uptick in enforcement or case clearance rates.

It also works out for ICE, which is willing to settle for apprehending mildly-disruptive hombres in lieu of bad ones. Since no one up top is paying too much attention to the quality of ICE apprehensions, anything that increases the quantity of apprehensions is welcome.

This runs contrary to Boston Mayor Marty Walsh’s declaration that city law enforcement would not assist ICE in anything but actually rounding up the “worst of the worst.” Cooperation was supposed to be limited to violent crimes and suspected felons.

Maybe the rest of the police force is complying with Mayor Walsh’s wishes. But one officer definitely isn’t. The documents obtained by WBUR show a single officer — Police Sergeant Detective Gregory Gallagher — is handling almost all of ICE’s requests for information. When not acting as a single source provider for immigrant info, Detective Gallagher is also offering to cover shifts for DHS special agents.

Detective Gallagher’s work makes a certain amount of sense considering he’s the PD’s point man for the department’s own immigration enforcement efforts. And it makes sense more broadly since local law enforcement agencies have been authorized to “perform the full range of law enforcement duties of a Customs Officer” on behalf of ICE since 2014.

But what doesn’t make sense is this officer’s insistence on acting as an ICE liaison to hunt down shoplifters and unlicensed drivers when ICE isn’t supposed to be focusing on these non-threats to national security/public safety. It also doesn’t make sense when the mayor has specifically instructed the city’s police force to provide assistance only in the most severe cases.

The response to this report by the city’s top cop isn’t necessarily reassuring.

Boston Police Commissioner William Gross told WBUR Thursday that his officers are focused on violent crimes and drugs, not a person’s immigration status.

That’s great and all, but someone inside the department is very much focused on immigration status. While the rest of the PD may be busying itself with actual police work, one detective has transformed himself into ICE’s top lackey — one with access to records and databases ICE possibly can’t access legally on its own.

Even if everything about this was completely above-board, it would still be problematic. ICE has limited resources but it’s using them to hunt down scofflaws, not dangerous criminals. It has a shortage of manpower, but still feels compelled to busy itself with low-level offenses committed by people who pose no threat to anything but the administration’s bullshit-shoveling.

Filed Under: , , , , ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Boston PD Is Helping ICE Track Down The City's Least Dangerous Immigrants”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
31 Comments

This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it.

This comment has been deemed funny by the community.
Anonymous Coward says:

when ICE isn’t supposed to be focusing on these non-threats to national security/public safety

Well, they kind of are. I believe that when people sneak into this country to steal the blessings of liberty, they should be caught and removed from the country. I have no problem with sharing some blessings with those that I and my government agree to support, but to open the doors is to lose all sense of security. Those who are in the United States illegally made a choice not to respect America’s sovereign border. We secured these blessings by building a country with some simple rules, grounded with with men who could think and speak and act in peace without fear of retribution by the law. These rules did not include allowing everyone in the world to partake in the same. A divide was created to unify. Unified, we divide.

Tanner Andrews (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: [markdown]

I’m not sure this is Hamilton. Hamilton’s not nearly smart enough to use markdown

Not sure that markdown itself was a particularly good idea. Some years ago, a guy came up with a mark-up language which is starting to catch on and appears likely to overtake this markdown stuff. He called it "hypertext mark-up language". Among other features, it manages to avoid munging quotes.

It also provides a better method of allowing embedded links (though some message systems detect and drop the links).

I would urge the operators of Techdirt to look into this "HTML" stuff, it is gaining some popularity.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 [markdown]

When markdown is implemented properly it eliminates cross-script attacks on the site and its users. If someone wrote a malicious html or javascript into an html text box it would then get loaded every time the pages loads and could attack the site itself, its users, or a third party website.

I have not seen the code for the site but if mark down is implemented properly it can allow some functions while stripping out all javascript and html from the box.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 [markdown]

When markdown is implemented properly it eliminates cross-script attacks on the site and its users.

The same goes if HTML is implemented properly. It turns out that programmers have trouble with the "implemented properly" part.

The problem with Markdown is that it’s an underspecified family of languages. If you read "the" Markdown spec and try all of that on Techdirt, you’ll find a bunch of it doesn’t work as described. And also: "For any markup that is not covered by Markdown’s syntax, you simply use HTML itself. There’s no need to preface it or delimit it to indicate that you’re switching from Markdown to HTML; you just use the tags."

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 [markdown]

simply use HTML itself

Actually, Techdirt links to the commonmark version of the spec, which says "An HTML block is a group of lines that is treated as raw HTML (and will not be escaped in HTML output)". So, by definition, if you’re blocking cross-site scripting your implementation is improper. Script tags are explicitly one of the required forms of raw HTML required to be supported by Markdown.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 HTML vs. Markup

I can work with either. But with HTML, I will be discouraged from commenting from a device (a phone or tablet) for want of a proper HTML-savvy editor. Markdown’s markups are simple and fast which makes them easy to add in on the fly. HTML always has a way to make my text come out exactly right! (because I’m anal) but it’s hard to use when I’m not at a proper computer with a proper keyboard.

Gripe: YouTube’s interpretation of markup sucks!

Also: Miss having strikeout in TechDirt comment forums. Also colored text.

btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re:

when ICE isn’t supposed to be focusing on these non-threats to national security/public safety

Who says they’re only supposed to be enforcing immigration law against violators who are threats to national security or public safety?

Illegal entry in a crime. It’s a violation of a duly passed and perfectly constitutional law. Anyone who commits it is subject to enforcement. You don’t have to also commit another crime before you can be held liable for violating U.S. immigration law.

(Of course in California, even if you do commit another crime– even serious ones like murder, rape, aggravated assault, etc.– our wonderful politicians still don’t want you deported when you get out of prison. They want these guys turned loose into California neighborhoods and do whatever they can to thwart removal from the country by federal officials. Apparently we don’t have enough criminals of our own. We need to fight tooth and nail to keep other countries’ criminals here also.)

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Gary (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Who says they’re only supposed to be enforcing immigration law against violators who are threats to national security or public safety?

Supposedly, they are targeting Mexicans because they are all rapists and a profound threat. (Per El Cheetos’ false statements.)

However most of the people in the US illegally are Canadian, eh? Also, not much of a threat.

So anytime you "Crack down on those illegals" remember el Cheetos is building the wall on the wrong border.

btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

However most of the people in the US illegally are Canadian

Detain ’em and deport ’em. I don’t care what country they’re from. I don’t care how they got here– border crossers or visa overstays– I don’t care what race or ethnicity they are. Send ’em home and make them stand in line like everyone else.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Lost me already at "Illegal entry is a crime"

It’s not very much of one. Federally, it’s a misdemeanor (despite all efforts from the White House to change that). The conditions in which immigrant detainees are treated at centers are, rather, a far greater crime according to statutes both within the US and international, but we can’t seem to muster to enforce those laws.

Incidentally, even when we include the misdemeanor of irregular entry, our immigrant population has lower crime rates across the board than the general US population. Bringing them over actually causes our rate statistics to lower.

But I get it. You can’t imagine your own kin and neighbors being bad people. So when crime is done, it has to be by some other, and when your spawn are caught red handed, it’s because they were demonically possessed.

Gary (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Lost me already at "Illegal entry is a crime"

Also "The Law is the Law" excuse.
But the law is supposed to have a good reason. To protect us.

If we don’t need protection from people who aren’t causing us harm, maybe it shouldn’t even be a misdemeanor at all. And it’s certainly a waste of resources to make an elevated response.

btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Lost me already at "Illegal entry is a crime"

Federally, it’s a misdemeanor

Lots of things are misdemeanors. I still want the police enforcing them.

DUI, domestic violence/domestic battery, theft, shoplifting, public intoxication, receiving stolen property, probation violation, driving on a suspended license, prostitution, reckless driving, assault/battery, trespassing, indecent exposure, violation of a protective order, disturbing the peace, vandalism, discharging a firearm within city limits

All are misdemeanors. You may not think they should be enforced, but I do.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 What should or shouldn't be enforced

Actually before the police enforces anything, I want a system that enforces the law equally and evenly across all social stratifications. Until we have that, we don’t have Rule of Law and laws are pretty meaningless.

Also, I’m going to assume you do not mean to imply you believe DUIs, domestic violence, or assault to be at the same degree of wrongdoing as crossing the national border.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 What should or shouldn't be enforced

At the northern border, it’s still supposed to be open for all Indians but not at the southern border. It’s from an ancient treaty. I recently had occasion to consider trying to test that treaty with possibly one of the smallest amounts of Indian DNA of anyone who has a claim to that race but I turned out not doing it.

btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 What should or shouldn't be enforced

is still supposed to be open for all Indians. It’s from an ancient treaty. I recently had occasion to consider trying to test that treaty with possibly one of the smallest amounts of Indian DNA of anyone who has a claim to that race but I turned out not doing it.

You should have gotten Elizabeth Warren to try it for you. If Hunts at Whole Foods gets through, then you know that there’s no amount of Native DNA so de minimis as to defeat the treaty.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »