President Trump Will Have Foes In Immigration Bureaucracy—But Also Friends. They Can Help Him Win
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After Donald J. Trump’s crushing victory in New York, and what looks like his impending sweep of North Eastern states, his giddy advisors have been estimating that he could win as many as 1400 delegates and secure the GOP nomination on the first ballot [Internal campaign memo projects Trump will win 1,400 delegates at GOP convention, by Philip Rucker, Washington Post, April 20, 2016]. Perhaps a revolution is at hand. But, as a worried reader noted recently, even if Trump can defeat Hillary Clinton, Trump will have to deal with a civil service composed of bureaucrats actively trying to thwart any immigration patriot agenda. Of course, they’d be receiving aid and comfort from the Main Stream Media—and the courts.

Can Trump defeat the bureaucrats? That depends on which bureaucrats we’re talking about. Since the (unfortunate) creation of the Department of Homeland Security, the immigration law enforcement functions once performed by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) have been broken into several different bureaucracies. Immigration law enforcement has been enfeebled—probably by design. Not all are Treason Lobby strongholds.

The components are:

  • U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) – deals with adjudicating benefits for aliens such as applications for permanent residency and naturalization
  • The U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) – the “green meanies” who patrol the borders of the United States and the interior arresting illegal aliens
  • Office of Air and Marine (OAM) – conduct maritime and air interdiction efforts, other than riverine patrols
  • Office of Field Operations (OFO) – inspect arriving persons and goods
  • U.S. Immigration Customs and Enforcement and Removal Operations (ICE ERO)
  • U.S. Immigration Customs and Enforcement Homeland Security Operations (ICE HSI) – which is ostensibly the investigative arm of DHS—but which I call ICE SVU because it seemingly takes on every possible crime except actually enforcing immigration law.
The latter two organizations are under U.S. Immigration Customs and Enforcement while the first four are under U.S. Customs and Border Protection. However, each of the components and sub-components has its own origins, bureaucratic nature, and different levels of commitment to immigration law enforcement.

Let's take them from best to worst.

The primary component of the immigration bureaucracy, based on number of arrests, is the USBP.  Border Patrol Agents (BPA) do the overwhelming majority of immigration law enforcement based on arrests.  Consequently they are the most ideologically committed to enforcing immigration law.  They also have a camaraderie and esprit d'corps within the bureaucracy.  That is why the representatives of the non-supervisory BPAs, the National Border Patrol Council (NBPC) endorsed Donald J. Trump for President.

Even the toadies in upper management who are appointed by the President and enforce his policies, are not on board ideologically with the Obama Regime Administrative Amnesty. They simply want to appease who is in charge. If the administration changes, they will be all in for the new Operation Wetback.

In second place, for both immigration law enforcement enthusiasm and the number of immigration arrests: ICE ERO.  The Deportation Officers and Immigration Enforcement Agents that staff ERO, like the BPAs, are primarily dedicated to immigration law enforcement and to a man want to go out and arrest illegal aliens.  Like BPAs, they hate the Obama Regime Administrative Amnesty and want to do their job. They can easily deport more than the 400,000 illegal aliens a year that the Regime claims is the maximum they can do—probably as many as 1 million illegal aliens each year at the current funding level.

Next on the list: OAM.  OAM is the smallest of the immigration enforcement agencies, and arrest few illegals. Their job is mostly to support USBP operations with aircraft and run enforcement operations is the waters of the United States, excepting the Rio Grande, and the Great Lakes, which are still patrolled by maritime units of the USBP.

OAM is influenced by both a legacy INS and mostly ex-Border Patrol pilot staff, but also by a legacy U.S. Customs Service (USCS) influence, as USCS had a long history of aviation support for drug interdiction operations throughout the United States.  Given its small size, it is not a real player in the immigration bureaucracy and little known outside CBP.

Moving further down in the enthusiasm scale: the Office of Field Operations, responsible for both customs and immigration law enforcement at Ports-of-Entry (POE), where persons and goods are inspected upon application for admission.  OFO is responsible for a large number of arrests and removals of aliens at the POEs.  Its management and outlook is dominated by legacy USCS employees, and consequently is unenthusiastic about its immigration enforcement mission. The U.S. Customs Service simply does not have the same zeal about enforcing immigration law as did the old INS.

OFO has long been purging legacy INS Imm Inspectors and managers from its staff, which is based on the long bureaucratic conflict that the legacy INS and USCS had for decades.  It has consequently lost much of its knowledge of immigration law and procedure, which is not well taught at the CBP Academy at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, Brunswick, GA.

That said, OFO will not fight any instructions from President Trump. It will, however, have difficulty implementing renewed enforcement at Ports of Entry simply because it has destroyed its institutional memory of immigration laws.  Fortunately, there is a cadre of legacy INS Immigration Inspectors that can be recalled and employed to assist President Trump.

Next: ICE HSI—or, as I call it, ICE SVU.  This is the first of the two parts of the immigration bureaucracy that will give President Trump trouble.

ICE HSI actively shirks its immigration enforcement responsibilities and has long been looking for a mission doing anything but immigration law enforcement.  I refer to it as ICE SVU because it has apparently decided to concentrate on child pornography  and similar non-immigration offenses as its major investigative effort—which has placed it in conflict with other law enforcement agencies, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which previously led such efforts.  ICE HSI has also waged campaigns against other Federal law enforcement agencies, trying to muscle in on the turf of agencies like the DEA.

ICE HSI is dominated by legacy USCS Special Agents and managers who long ago purged most legacy INS Special Agents and managers from the agency.  Those that remain, such as agents assigned to perform worksite enforcement, basically do no work for the very generous pay that ICE HSI Special Agents receive.  I know one legacy INS agent assigned to worksite enforcement who has made no arrests and done no worksite raids in 8 years.

President Trump will have major problems with ICE HSI management and agents. Even current agents don't want to do immigration work. They consider it beneath them, and they have little or no knowledge of immigration law.

My advice to President Trump: remove the top leadership altogether. Replace them with Border Patrol Agents and officers from ICE ERO.  Make an example of a few Senior Executive Service (SES) managers by termination. And then the rest will follow.

But the real problem will be with USCIS.  The management is overwhelmingly in support of illegal immigration and the illegal aliens who are in effect their "customers." USCIS has decided it is not a law enforcement agency, but a service agency.  The management at all levels is politically corrupt and will approve any benefit for aliens—even if it is illegal to provide that benefit to an alien.  It needs to be cleaned out from top to bottom.

President Trump will certainly have his work cut out for him on the immigration bureaucracy front.  A good strategy will be to replace ICE HSI and USCIS managers and attorneys with current and retired Border Patrol and ICE ERO managers and attorneys.

A further strategy: actually to follow the Homeland Security Act (HSA) and replace the current bureaucratic arrangement of ICE and CBP with what the Act mandates—a Bureau of Border Security (BBS). This would replacing the current components and sub-components with one management team that integrates them all. The components would report to one manager at the local level and one manager in Washington DC, similar to how things were done in the old INS.

President Trump could place Border Patrol and ERO managers over this new structure arranged like this:

  • Each current ERO District or Border Patrol Sector would constitute the new local management for the Border Patrol, ICE ERO, ICE HSI, Office of Field Operations, and Office of Air and Marine.  The old designations of the INS would be used locally: Deportation, Investigations, Inspections, and Border Patrol.  Each district would have one head, with President Trump ensuring each head of the local district would come from a legacy ERO or Border Patrol manager.
The problem: by law, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services would have a separate structure. However, that can be overcome with personnel changes. Simply replace all USCIS District Directors and Field Office Directors with managers from the legacy ERO, Border Patrol, or rehired annuitants from the legacy INS, vetted for immigration enforcement enthusiasm.  President Trump can also propose legislation eliminating USCIS and bringing it into the structure of the Bureau of Border Security.

So that’s your insider’s look at the immigration bureaucracy!

As with all political questions, ultimately the immigration bureaucracy is a question of “Who? Whom?” There are traitors in the bureaucracy—and patriots as well. Whether it is Trump or Cruz, the subversives will have to be weeded out.

Any patriot President will have to gird himself for a hard battle. But it’s a battle that can be won.

The blogger Federale (Email him) is a 4th generation Californian and a veteran of federal law enforcement, including service in the legacy Immigration and Naturalization Service, the Department of Homeland Security, and other federal law enforcement agencies.

Federale's opinions do not represent those of the Department of Homeland Security or the federal government, and are an exercise of rights protected by the 1st Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

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