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: boston, boston pd, ice, immigrants, police, worst of the worst


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  • icon
    Norahc (profile), 5 Nov 2019 @ 5:47pm

    NYPD, "We have our own anti-terrorism unit that goes all over thw world uninvited."

    Boston PD, "Hold my beer. We're going to start our own ICE unit and save on all the travel costs."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 5 Nov 2019 @ 7:06pm

      Remember the whole Kim Dotcom thing?

      That was ICE too.

      They're kinda all-purpose mercenaries with a government badge for when one of our oligarchs needs Jackbooted Thugs to assert their will.

      Though I don't think they actually wear jackboots anymore.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 5 Nov 2019 @ 7:26pm

        Re: Remember the whole Kim Dotcom thing?

        When you have immigration people in charge of copyright crimes, of all things... all-purpose sounds about right, really.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Bergman (profile), 6 Nov 2019 @ 4:22am

          Re: Re: Remember the whole Kim Dotcom thing?

          It's not immigration people in charge of copyright enforcement though. It's customs people in charge of keeping illegal goods out of the country -- which is exactly what they're supposed to do, among several other things.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2019 @ 6:08am

            Re: Re: Re: Remember the whole Kim Dotcom thing?

            I thought ICE was an acronym for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Why are they enforcing copyright claims? idk.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Nov 2019 @ 7:25pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Nov 2019 @ 7:28pm

      Re:

      Too, I am concerned with the metrics of threat assessment. How much National Security is not quite enough to bake a cake? Can you fit the amount of public safety an average man possesses into a 12 oz. bottle?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Toom1275 (profile), 5 Nov 2019 @ 7:41pm

      Re:

      [Asserts facts not in evidence]

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Nov 2019 @ 8:10pm

      Re:

      That’s nice hamilton. Way to misuse the words of someone infinitely smarter than you are.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 5 Nov 2019 @ 9:34pm

        Re: Re:

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

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Tanner Andrews (profile), 6 Nov 2019 @ 3:40am

          Re: Re: Re: [markdown]

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

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Tanner Andrews (profile), 6 Nov 2019 @ 3:44am

          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.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2019 @ 4:05am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: [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.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2019 @ 10:24am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: [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."

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2019 @ 10:29am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: [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.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 6 Nov 2019 @ 5:50am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: [markdown]

            Markdown is a text-based interaction with the user browser.

            HTML is a script-based interaction.

            Yes, HTML can do more. Oh, so much more. That, imho, is a good reason not to use it where it isn't needed.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Uriel-238 (profile), 6 Nov 2019 @ 11:27am

            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.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Gary (profile), 6 Nov 2019 @ 6:14am

      Re:

      I believe that when people sneak into this country to steal the blessings of liberty

      Steal the blessings of liberty? What kind of coolaid are you drinking there?

      Dishonest leaders can taint our liberty. Are you afraid there isn't enough liberty to go around? Can you measure it? Have you experienced less liberty recently?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      btr1701 (profile), 6 Nov 2019 @ 12:27pm

      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.)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Gary (profile), 6 Nov 2019 @ 12:31pm

        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.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          btr1701 (profile), 6 Nov 2019 @ 1:42pm

          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.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Gary (profile), 6 Nov 2019 @ 3:54pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I don't care how they got here

            Build that Wall! Shut down the Canadian Border!! Lock up all the lawbreakers!

            Especially the ones breaking the Emoluments clause...

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              btr1701 (profile), 8 Nov 2019 @ 3:31pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Build that Wall! Shut down the Canadian Border!! Lock up all the lawbreakers!

              None of which I actually said, but you keep doing you.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Uriel-238 (profile), 6 Nov 2019 @ 1:12pm

        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.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Gary (profile), 6 Nov 2019 @ 1:18pm

          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.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          btr1701 (profile), 6 Nov 2019 @ 1:40pm

          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.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Uriel-238 (profile), 6 Nov 2019 @ 1:52pm

            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.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Gary (profile), 6 Nov 2019 @ 5:51pm

              Re: What should or shouldn't be enforced

              same degree of wrongdoing as crossing the national border

              Only when Mexicans cross the border, not Canadians!

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2019 @ 8:57pm

                Re: Re: 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.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  btr1701 (profile), 8 Nov 2019 @ 3:34pm

                  Re: Re: Re: 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.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2019 @ 5:32am

    Just annex Mexico and be done with it. Rebuild the infrastructure and turn it into a tourist spot: Hawaii 2.0

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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