ICE Officers Forging Signatures, Deploying Pre-Signed Warrants To Detain Immigrants

from the at-this-point,-only-ICE-thinks-ICE-shouldn't-be-abolished dept

[N]o warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Or whatever.

Here's ICE's much vaguer take on the Fourth Amendment, according to documents obtained by Brent Oxley, a fired ICE officer.

Internal emails and other ICE documents he obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, since reviewed by CNN, show that other officers across the five-state region where Oxley worked had improperly signed warrants on behalf of their supervisors -- especially on evenings or weekends. Some supervisors even gave their officers pre-signed blank warrants — in effect, illegally handing them the authority to begin the deportation process.

Oxley forged signatures of supervisors. Other ICE officers didn't go that far. Many simply phoned up the supervisor who was supposed to be reviewing the warrants -- you know, to ensure they were compliant with the Constitution -- and then signed them on their behalf. In all the cases reviewed by CNN, no one was following the rules.

The President claims the "crisis" at the southern border warrants a national emergency declaration. The job ICE does is, apparently, too important to be done correctly. The agency is cooking the books to make it appear as though the nation is overrun by dangerous immigrants. Simultaneously, ICE threw manpower and funding at creating a fake college so it could sweep up immigrants and visitors attempting to comply with the law.

This warrant process that can barely be called a "process" is resulting in the illegal detention of immigrants who haven't violated the law. The Fourth Amendment is supposed to limit government wrongdoing, but ICE officers appear to believe civil rights are inconveniences to be routed around. It wants to make the fun part of the job -- rounding up people and detaining them -- more efficient.

The process is detain first, ask questions later, if ever.

One ICE deportation officer in the Northwestern United States, who asked not to be named because he wasn't authorized to speak for the agency, said his supervisors were not reviewing and signing individual warrants, called I-200s, as prescribed.

"I've had two supervisors since the memo came out. Both do it different ways, neither in the way that's outlined in the policy," the officer said. "My first supervisor would just sign the I-200s; he'd leave them blank and I would fill in the name later. My current supervisor tells us to sign his name for him." Most supervisors in that office do the same, he added.

It's only after ICE has someone in custody that anyone conducts a review of the paperwork. Apparently the agency feels comfortable abusing the rights of non-citizens, even though these same protections are extended to them by the government. It's a collective shrug from ICE towards the Constitution the agency's officers are sworn to uphold.

Brent Oxley is no hero. He's not even a whistleblower. This misconduct has come to light because the union representing ICE officers is trying to get a man who forged supervisors' signatures on warrants his job back. All Oxley was trying to show was that ICE's Fourth Amendment violations are common practice. He wasn't trying to expose the agency's wrongdoing. He was simply trying to justify his own.

Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: 4th amendment, blank warrants, dhs, general warrants, ice, immigrants, immigration, pre-signed warrants, rule of law


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  1. identicon
    David, 19 Mar 2019 @ 1:35pm

    Mischaracterization:

    In all the cases reviewed by CNN, no one was following the rules.

    You mean, no one was heeding the law. We are not talking about some internal rules here at the whim of the police department. We are talking about one of the most ubiquitous articles of personal hygiene, the U.S. constitution.


Add Your Comment

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



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it
Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.