CQ Homeland Security: Authorities Release Immigrants to Target Bigger Fish

Just before Congress went to recess, the top Republican on the House Appropriations Homeland Security Subcommittee said the release of 24 illegal immigrants on work permits after an Immigration and Customs Enforcement raid “effectively put illegal immigrants in the front of the employment line.”

But ICE Director of Investigations Marcy Forman said recently that those provided permits probably won’t be in any line for long.

“I’m not going to go into specifics about [the case], but more than likely at the end of the case these individuals will be subject to deportation,” Forman said.

When ICE and U.S. attorneys’ offices build cases against employers, they need witnesses, Forman said. Employees are often the best candidates, but if they are deported, “it’s more than likely that we wouldn’t see them again,” she said.

After a raid, officers interview everyone taken into custody, and ICE and a U.S. attorney’s office makes a determination about which detainees can provide useful information about their employer. Those granted work permits are strictly monitored by ICE, Forman said. In the Bellingham case, the workers must check in with the agency several times a month.