ICE Call-In Letters: Something Old is Made "New" Again

By Dan Cadman on May 4, 2018

According to The Intercept, advocates in New York are up in arms about a "new" ICE tactic of sending call-in letters to removable aliens (many of them criminals whom the New York Police and Corrections Departments declined to hold for ICE when detainers were filed after arrest fingerprints were matched against Homeland Security biometric data).

The call-in letters ask the aliens to report to the ICE office at a specific date and time.

The article's headline carries a sense of the outrage: "ICE Evades Sanctuary Rules by Using NYPD Fingerprints to find Immigrants and Send them Call-in Letters".

One would think from the title of the article that ICE is somehow obliged to live by sanctuary rules established by city officials that were established for the sole purpose of frustrating federal immigration enforcement. But that's not the case. It may be that the city can blackmail its employees into complying with their myopic rules forbidding contact with ICE, for fear of discipline or ending their careers, and it can to some extent block ICE access to non-public buildings — but other than that, the city has no domain over federal laws nor federal officers, which is exactly as it should be.

There is also nothing new about call-in letters. I'm an old dog whose government career began in the mid-1970s. Call-in letters were being used then, and I'm sure had been from time immemorial. When I began as one of a few trainee investigators in the office, I (we) got the most mundane work, and that included preparing exactly such call-in letters. We sent them out by the dozens to fill in the work days, among other lowly duties such as preparing stowaway and jumped-crewman reports, before we were fully trusted to go out and do casework on our own.

If someone appeared in response to the call-in letters, we'd process them for deportation proceedings and (because they'd responded) either release them on their own recognizance (O/R) or on a fairly moderate bond if there were other adverse factors present — after all, they'd shown enough credibility to respond to the letters.

Conversely, though, if someone didn't show in response to a call-in, it was helping build the case that, when found and apprehended, they were flight risks and didn't merit lenient treatment in the way of release on recognizance or a low bond.

The fact that such a tactic is called "new" shows just how shockingly ignorant alien advocates are, and how sadly in disrepair immigration enforcement has become during the past decade or so. It's as if advocates are shocked when immigration agents even undertake low profile mechanisms to call aliens into the office when removal may be involved. The Intercept describes it this way:

The organizations say the letters are unprecedented in recent New York history, reflecting a "new low" in the agency's ramped up immigration enforcement efforts throughout the city, and undermining the sanctuary protections trumpeted from City Hall.

A "new low"? Are they kidding?

To sum this up: Advocates call it a "new low" when aliens are humanely given a chance to show up on their own, and establish some modicum of honor and character — and yet they claim that ICE is engaging in storm trooper tactics when agents take to the streets and courthouses to effect arrests of deportable criminal aliens. The illogic of that position speaks for itself.