Detective Joe Friday of the long-ago "Dragnet" TV show famously said to female witnesses, "just give me the facts, Ma'am."
ICE publicists might rephrase this as, "just give me the triumphs."
As a recovering federal publicist myself (U.S. Department of Interior, 1997-1999) I have a sense of how this works, and how agencies feed the press (unless challenged) only the best part of the story.
The ICE press release that stimulated these thoughts had a positive heading:
DMV examiners and customers charged with document fraud
18 individuals charged in scheme, including four Department of Motor Vehicle employees
Being interested in illegal aliens' use of driver's licenses and car licenses (see my CIS Memorandum on that subject) I read the full text of the short press release on this action in Florida. What I found later, after a bit of sleuthing, was not only the account of the arrests, but a hidden story about an extremely successful, lengthy criminal career of an illegal alien, a story that was covered up (or at least not disclosed) in both the ICE press release and in federal indictment of the lead DMV criminal, one Rolin Pierre.
As I do from time to time, I decided to look into the federal court system's electronic records (PACER) to see what I could learn about the nature of the Florida DMV conspiracy. I had no idea what, if anything, I would find, but I knew that case histories of illegal alien cases sometimes are illuminating. This one was.
The first thing I found in PACER was that there were five recent files on Pierre, not the single one I was expecting. One was dated April 26, 2011 (that was for the DMV arrest), and the other was dated November 23, 2010, and was for illegal entries to the U.S.. Three of the files were duplicative of the two main ones.
Could there be two Rolin Pierres, both born in 1960, both arrested by the feds within months of each other on Florida's East Coast? The documents in the DMV arrest said nothing about the earlier arrest, and those for the earlier arrest did not say that Pierre worked for the DMV. But the PACER listings for both arrests bore the same number under the name, 00487-165.
I Googled the news account in a local online newspaper and found that there was, in fact, only one Rolin Pierre, and he had been arrested twice.
What I found, eventually, with no help from ICE press releases, but much from the sentencing memo related to the 2010 arrest, was a story of how one illegal alien had been outwitting the federal and state governments for 30 years, and how he had finally wormed his way, apparently, into a state job dispensing driver's licenses. If Horatio Alger had been a crook, it would have been a Horatio Alger story, of how a person with no advantages at birth, had, by pluck and luck, overcome (nearly) all obstacles. A summary of Pierre's life, from that sentencing memo, follows:
- 1960, Rolin Pierre was born in Haiti;
- before 9/10/81, he arrived illegally in the States;
- 9/10/81, first of his eight convictions, for battery, in jail for four days;
- 8/1/88, he stole American Express checks, given 18 months probation;
- 1/29/90, convicted of cocaine possession, served eight months in prison;
- 2/12/90, deported;
- before 3/26/92, re-entered U.S. illegally;
- 3/26/92, sold crack to an undercover agent, subsequently convicted, sent to prison but on
- 7/21/93 his prison sentence was cut short by another deportation;
- by 1998, he had returned to the U.S., illegally, again;
- 2001-2003, worked in Florida as a laborer;
- 2004-2006, owned a car wash business;
- 2006-2007, worked in a Chinese restaurant;
- 2007, worked at two firms in Tampa;
- 2008-11/21/10, worked at a Fort Lauderdale tax preparation firm;
- 11/21/10, arrested in Pompano Beach, and, apparently, released;
- subsequently, apparently, got a job at the Motor Vehicle Department;
- 5/3/11, arrested again on the DMV charges.
So, we have someone with at least three illegal entries to the U.S., eight criminal convictions, and several jail and prison terms moving up the ladder from selling crack cocaine to owning a small business, to securing white collar jobs relating to taxes and to the issuance of driver's licenses, and living in the U.S. illegally for most of 30 years. (Apparently Florida's DMV does not fingerprint its new employees or use E-Verify.) It sounds like an illegal alien success story, and a story of continued failure of U.S. authorities to either keep him in prison, or out of the country.
But you could not tell that from reading ICE's triumphal press release.