By Attorney Farhad Sethna © 2016
A new “social work” role for ICE?!! In a fact sheet which first became public on January 11, 2016, ICE touted its “Family Case Managing Program”, or FCMP.
The USICE (United States Immigration & Customs Enforcement), the enforcement arm of the Department of Homeland Security, whose focus is on detention and removal of aliens from the USA, employer sanctions, and customs enforcement seems to have moved into a new facet of operations “social work”.
What is the FCMP?
The FCMP is “intended to provide services, both at the beginning (pre-order/pre-adjudication) and end (post-order or order of voluntary departure) of the immigration life-cycle.” – sort of sounds like a quote from a management textbook, doesn’t it?
The handout goes on to tout these services:
- Orientation and education for participants about their legal rights and responsibilities;
- Individualized family service plans;
- Assistance with transportation logistics;
- Tracking and monitoring of immigration obligations (to include ICE check-ins, and attendance at Immigration Court hearings); and
- Safe repatriation and reintegration planning for participants who are returning to their home countries.
So – the overall purpose of FCMP appears to be:
ICE will facilitate ways to get asylum seekers to court, so that even though they can’t understand anything, don’t have access to counsel, and cannot participate meaningfully in defending themselves or presenting their cases, ICE can take pride in having given them “due process”! Hurray!!
At this time, the FCMP program will enroll only family units lucky enough to live in these metropolitan areas:
- Baltimore/ Washington, D.C;
- Los Angeles;
- New York City/ Newark;
How will families be selected?
Families who are selected for “white glove” treatment courtesy the ICE will be those who previously resided at one the ICE-operated facilities which are also euphemistically called “Family Residential Centers”, or at a border patrol central processing center. The true operators of these “resorts”? (With a name like “Family Residential Centers”, it conjures up visions of swimming pools and happily shrieking children, warm weather, grilling at the barbie, and suburban families spending time frolicking and playing together, doesn’t it?) Not ICE, not the US government: actually its an immigration jail, run under contract by a for-profit company, the Corrections Corporation of America.
Other families may not yet be included in the FCMP enrollment.
Who is in charge of FCMP?
FCMP program lead is none other than the honorable Andrew Lorenzen-Strait, Deputy Assistant Director at ERO Custody Management. Mr. Strait was previously the USICE Ombudsman, intervening with ICE when they failed to exercise prosecutorial discretion. Unfortunately, his position, which actually did some good, was eliminated by Congress. (Why help those aliens – they’re all criminals anyway!)
What should really be done?
If ICE is sincerely interested in helping aliens fleeing epidemic violence and crime in their native countries, it would be far better for ICE to spend the money in providing legal assistance for these immigrants. ICE should also stop removing families with pending appeals. (This isn’t fiction – an unknown number of asylum applicants with pending applications or appeals have already been summarily removed from the USA; dedicated volunteers have stopped the deportation of others just in time.)
Further, ICE’s plans are nebulous at best. What for example is an “individualized family service plan”? What is “assistance with transportation logistics?” Does this mean giving an immigrant a bus schedule (in a language he or she does not understand) to take him or her to immigration court?
Why is ICE doing this?
The FCMP appears to be window dressing. Having one single person run the FCMP for a huge metro area like Los Angeles or Chicago is akin to having a little boy plug the leaking dyke with a finger. After announcing its policy to conduct immigration sweeps and “raids” starting January 1, ICE has to do something to temper public opinion that it is being a petulant bully, picking on defenseless women and kids. ICE’s brilliant solution? Hand out bus schedules.
ICE’s Family Case Management Program should be viewed for what it is: Merely a distraction from harsh ICE policy and practice. The FCMP is basically window dressing. Anybody with even basic knowledge of how ICE operates on a day-to-day basis knows that the FCMP is simply a sham and one designed to distract attention from the real problem, which is under-represented aliens in Immigration Court and asylum proceedings.
About the author: Attorney Farhad Sethna has practiced law for over 20 years. Since 1996, he has been an adjunct professor of Immigration Law at the University of Akron, School of Law, in Akron, Ohio. He is a frequent speaker at Continuing Legal Education and professional development seminars on various immigration-related topics. His practice is limited to immigration and small business. With offices in Cuyahoga Falls, Akron and Dover, Ohio, Attorney Sethna represents clients in all types of immigration cases. Our number is: (330)-384-8000. Please send your general immigration questions to AttorneySethna@immigration-america.com. We will try to answer as many questions as possible.
This is only general legal information. Please consult a qualified immigration attorney for advice on your specific case.