PEP Rallies Diffuse Responsibility at ICE

By Dan Cadman, June 18, 2015

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director Sarah Saldana recently issued an all-hands email broadcast to ICE employees about the new Priority Enforcement Program (PEP). She was perhaps responding to criticism that the program, announced by Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson to replace the Secure Communities program he ordered dismantled in November, was amorphous and unexplained, or perhaps she was reacting to the filing of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the government to discover the detailed workings of PEP.

Sarah Saldana

The tone of the email is part PEP rally (sorry) and part encouragement to ICE employees to embrace the program, which implicitly suggests that either they don't, or that, like the public, they can't figure out what it is; exactly the dearth of information that prompted the lawsuit to begin with.

A copy of Saldana's email can be seen here, but be forewarned it's written in the arcane language of "Blatherskite", now mostly known only to politicians, political appointees, and unwillingly but of necessity, to their bureaucratic minions.

Translated, the email message seems to say this:

The Obama administration has really screwed up in the past couple of years, as a result of which ICE's long-time law enforcement partners have abandoned us in droves, leaving you guys high and dry when it comes to getting any kind of cooperation from state and local law enforcement. Oops.

To cap off the screw-ups, we jettisoned Secure Communities in favor of the absurdly named PEP, which Secretary Johnson and I have been scrambling to persuade these former partners who abandoned us is a good program — so good, in fact, that like a chameleon it can change colors to be anything they want it to be.

But we don't seem to have convinced a lot of people, so now we're dumping this into your laps so that there will be someone to blame when it all heads south. Pay particular attention, you field office directors, 'cause we've got you in our sights!

We've prepared some generic and pretty useless materials to help you convince your fellow law enforcement types even though we couldn't and, oh by the way, to be sure you understand your directors aren't the only ones on the hook, we've also prepared a generic course you must take and pass online ASAP, as you sally forth on this Forlorn Hope.

Good luck, buena suerte, and bon chance; you're gonna need it.