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U.S. Pays over $16 million For ‘Return and Reintegration’ of Deported Central Americans

On August 15, 2016 the United States Agency for International Aid (USAID) made a direct payment for $16,813,000.oo to the International Organization For Migration Aid (IOM) for what is euphemistically referred to as “Return and Reintegration in the Northern Triangle” though the place of performance is El Salvador. 

Return is a euphemism for deportation.

 Reintegration, on the other hand, is not as straightforward a translation. In the context of US goals, reintegration means ensuring that those who are deported from the United States or Mexico do not attempt to come to the United States again. 

For those fleeing fatal violence, reintegration means death. 

Here are the project details: 


This almost $17 million aid payment is by far the largest the USAID agency has made to any of the Northern Triangle countries since the exodus of unaccompanied children and families began in 2014. 
What does it say about the United States’ priorities that its biggest payment in foreign aid has been to keep those it deported from returning to the United States? 

Why the DOJ’s Announcement Poses An Existential Threat To Private Prisons

Fear of a domino effect.

As reported by the Washington Post, the Department of Justice announcement t0 end the use of private prison companies was based on the findings in a recent inspector general’s 80 page report on private contract prisons

Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates explained:

“The fact of the matter is that private prisons don’t compare favorably to Bureau of Prisons facilities in terms of safety or security or services, and now with the decline in the federal prison population, we have both the opportunity and the responsibility to do something about that”

Only a matter of hours after the news broke, the stocks for the two titans of private prison industry, Corrections Corporation of America  and the GEO group, plummeted by almost half.

By end of the day’s trading, the prison companies were gutted: “CCA  shares dropped 35% to close at $17.57. It was the lowest close for the stock since July 31, 2009. GEO…shares fell 40% to close at $19.51.”

Yet the percentage of potential loss from contracts with the DOJ’s Bureau of Prison’s only accounted for 7% of CCA’s current revenue, and 11% in Fiscal Year 2015. As such, one is left to wonder why CCA and GEO lost close to 40% of their value in one day despite only losing a small percentage of future revenue from BOP contracted facilities.

CCA and GEO’s statements to the financial press give lead us close to the answer:

The Inspector General’s report used to buttress this decision has significant flaws,” said Jonathan Burns, Corrections Corp. director of public affairs, in emailed comments.

“The findings simply don’t match up to the numerous independent studies that show our facilities to be equal or better with regard to safety and quality, or the excellent feedback we get from our partners at all levels of government,” Burns said.

Burns added it’s important to note that the DoJ’s announcement only applies to 7% of its business, and said the company is shifting toward a real-estate-only focus where the government provides its own staff and management.

“At the federal level, our facilities have a proven track record of providing cost-effective, high quality services for those entrusted to our care,” said GEO spokesman Pablo Paez in emailed comments. “While our company was disappointed by today’s DOJ announcement, the impact of this decision on GEO is not imminent.”

One must deconstruct Burns’ response.

First, CCA attacked the findings of  Inspector General’s report. Second, CCA emphasized that losing the BOP contracts was a smidgeon of a loss of total revenue. But CCA is terrified that that 7% will mushroom to

In doing so, CCA pleaded with  its remaining clients  “to not even look  into ending your contracts with us because the Department of Justice’s Inspector General is full of shit and the Department of Justice’s leaders are morons for believing it. Trust us, even without facts.”

CCA’s annual report for Fiscal Year 2015 shows that in fact the company’s biggest sources of revenue are with state and local governments: For 2015, the Bureau of Prisons accounted for 11% of total revenue; the U.S. Marshals, 16%; Immigration and Customs Enforcement; 24%; Management for State Correctional Facilities, 42%; and California Department of Corrections, 11%.

Let’s name names:

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Will the States of California, Arizona, Hawaii, Georgia, Montana, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Wyoming, and Florida read the inspector general’s report and conclude, like the DOJ, that they should end the use of private prisons?

The shareholders of CCA and GEO’s thought so when they abandoned ship in epic numbers.

 

Did ICE solicit $250 million bribe from Inspector of Family Detention Centers?

 

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Top: Zachary Parker, President & CEO of DLH Holdings Corp.  Bottom: Dr. Jeffery A. Hoffman, former CEO of Danya International, Inc.Hoffman-Jeff-e1458665699503

ICE Assistant Director for Field Operations, Jon Gurule, dedicated over one full page of his sworn declaration from June 3, 2016 to a company he referred to as Danya International.

“In May 2015, ICE contracted with Danya International to provide compliance monitoring and oversight at all FRC. Pursuant to the contract with JFRMU’s Compliance Inspection Program, a team of dedicated inspectors conduct unannounced, monthly inspections of each FRC. The inspections include a detailed review of areas of compliance and noncompliance with ICE’s Family Residential Standards (FRS)…, general observations, and recommendations to achieve compliance. ICE contracted with Danya International because it has extensive experience in family/child-centered programming, educational services, Head Start Compliance, at-risk populations, and conditions of confinement in detention and residential settings.

In addition to its compliance work, Danya International also provides staff with ongoing technical assistance and training in areas intended to improve center conditions and programming. From August 2015, when it conducted its first monthly inspection, to present, Danya has generally found the FRCs to be compliant with the majority of physical plant, procedures/processes and quality control standards at FRCs. Where Danya observed individual issues of non-compliance, the facilities took corrective action as appropriate and achieved compliance although this is a continuos process. These inspections are ongoing, and Danya continually provides feedback on how to improve and resolve noncompliance issue at the facilities as they arise.

Danya has also noted the dedication and professionalism of FRC staff and at Dilley, a positive environment. For example, on November 10, 2015, Danya reported that staff at Berks ‘was welcoming and professional and committed to the facility’s mission’ On September 10, 2015, a report on Karnes noted that ‘the staff was welcoming and professional and committed to the facility’s mission of protecting women and their children.’ On January 27, 2016, Danya’s report on Dilley stated that ‘residents appeared to be in good spirits.’ In addition to assessing FRC compliance with the FRS, beginning in the spring of 2016, Danya also began interviewing a small sample of residents to obtain resident feedback to ensure that staff and management are aware of resident concerns. (Attached hereto as Exhibits (‘Exhs’) 1, 2, & 3 are true and correct copies of Danya International Reports of Compliance Inspections of BFRC, dates Nov. 10, 2015, KCRC, dated Sept. 10, 2015 and STFRC, dated Jan. 27, 2016).”

Before I eviscerate the substance (or lack thereof) of Danya International’s inspection reports, I feel obliged to clear up one factual error in Mr. Gurule’s declaration:

On May 3, 2016, DLH Holdings Corp, an Atlanta-based provider of healthcare services to the federal government focused on health and medical logistics, paid $38.75 million to acquire Danya International.

In a press release, DLH Holdings said, “Danya will operate as a unit of DLH, with founder Jeff Hoffman serving as a strategic market advisor for up to two years…”

Zachary Parker, DLH’s President and CEO, exuberantly proclaimed that with the acquisition of Danya, “the two companies are…able to leverage the combined capabilities of the ‘new’ DLH to target larger opportunities that would have previously been unavailable to either company standalone. Danya’s federal IT management services experience will accelerate our health IT initiatives.”

Would a larger opportunity be a contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”)worth at least $250 million dollars to provide healthcare services to 22 of its detention centers, including the South Texas Family Residential Center and the Berks County Family Residential Center?

Yes. You guessed it.

ICE is currently soliciting bids for a new contract to provide healthcare services at the following ICE detention centers:

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In response to questions from companies interested in the contract, ICE disclosed the value of the current contract, as shown below:

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One can pinpoint the precise amount of funds that ICE has paid Ingenesis Inc. ($168 million) and Maxim Healthcare Services, Inc. ($52.7 million) to date.

 

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Ingenesis still has at least one year on its contract with ICE to provide healthcare services, but apparently ICE is not thrilled with the current providers’ services, stating that there have been challenges with “staffing and retention of staff for the remote locations, and the difficulty finding staff willing to work in a correctional/detention environment.”

DLH Holdings is actively bidding to be awarded the 5 year contract worth at least $250 million to provide healthcare services at the locations as described above, as can be seen from a job posting on its website:

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$250 million is at best a conflict of interest with respect to DLH’s inspection and compliance monitoring contract and potential evidence of a quid quo pro of “Sign off on Compliance Reports for Family Detention Centers and you will nearly double your annual revenue.”

DLH Holdings Corp’s annual revenue for Fiscal Year 2015 and 2014 was approximately $65 million and $60 million, respectively. If DLH was awarded the $250 million ICE contract, it would nearly double its annual revenue with $50 million in additional revenue per year, to $115+ million per year.

DLH Holdings has a $250 million incentive to refrain from meaningfully critical inspection reports of ICE’s family residential facilities, especially as it seeks to provide the very services that it is currently responsible for inspecting and monitoring.

The rosy yet wholly conclusory and unsubstantiated inspection reports submitted in the Flores litigation by ICE may have been pre-determined.

Also, one perplexing question remains:

Why did Danya International attend a March, 2016 conference for vendors interested in the contract for healthcare services when it had no capability or experience in providing healthcare staffing or direct services and when less than a year prior, it had signed contract with ICE for $1.6 million to inspect and monitor conditions at Family Detention Centers? Before answering, first look at the sign in sheet for the healthcare contract:

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As one can see, several executives from both Danya International, Inc. and DLH Holdings attended the conference, including DLH’s President and CEO, Zachary Parker, who can be reached at Zach.Parker@DLHCORP.com or 678-325-10723, if anyone is interested.

It appears that DLH’s reference of the larger opportunities that would have not been possible but for the acquisition of Danya International, Inc. includes the $250+ million contract award to provide medical services to 22 of ICE’s detention facilities.

A quick note on the actual inspection reports:

They are rubbish. And a red flag immediately jumps out: The individual who inspected Berks and Karnes is listed as “Elfreida Curtis-Crawley.” Danya first gives her the title of “Compliance Inspector” but calls her a “Compliance Reviewer” in a subsequent report.

Elfreida Curtis-Crawley’s past experience solely in inspecting Adult Correctional Facilities. In other words, individuals detained because they have either been charged with a crime and are awaiting trial or have been convicted and sentenced as a crime.

The State of Georgia’s open records website contains the following information regarding Curtis-Crawley:

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Here, we can see that Curtis-Crawley’s specific past job title was “Senior Inspector” with the Georgia State Department of Corrections:

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So much for the “family/child centered programming” that ICE purportedly contracted Danya for…

Some final observations:

Danya’s report on Karnes corroborates whistleblower Dr. Olivia Lopez’s concerns in her declaration. Specifically, Danya’s report states:

4.3 Medical
Observation: The facility is using paper files to document resident’s medical information. Recommendation: IHSC COR and Field Office COR explore the implementation of an electronic health record system that will track resident medical information, calendar medical appointments, and track upcoming needs.

See Lopez’s declaration: 

Dr. Diaz noticed the way I worked and demanded that I stop leaving a paper trail of the women’s concerns. In an evaluation of my performance dated December 26, 2014, Dr. Diaz wrote: “Also discussed again with Dr. Lopez that on the Weekly Checks the only written comments acceptable would be that the Resident asked and was informed about how to access needed medical or mental health services through our Referral form process. Any other type of problem was to be redirected to the other Case Management/Social Work staff for their follow up.” For women who were illiterate in Spanish or had low levels of education, he directed me and the employees I supervised to suggest to residents that they find other residents who were literate in Spanish and ask that they complete all requests on their behalf. This held for medical, mental health, concerns about their children, status of immigration and all other requests. Dr. Diaz was clear about his belief that residents and their attorneys “try and use medical records to positively impact their asylum”.

Also, Danya “confirms” what ICE has known since the Karnes facility’s inception as a child detention center in August of 2014: that children and their mothers with contagious or suspected contagious illnesses are held in isolation for 23 out of 24 hours per day:
Use of isolation rooms: The Facility Administrator, Rose Thompson, said the facility does not use isolation rooms. They have rooms where residents who were exposed to TB or any other possible contagious medical issue are kept separate, but the doors are never locked and the residents are allowed to go in and out of the dayroom at any time. Residents with possible TB exposure are asked to notify the medical staff before they enter the dayroom with their children so that the rooms can be sanitized once the resident vacates. The rooms are immediately sanitized after use by a resident with possible TB exposure or other contagious medical issue.

There were no posters in the area stating that residents are free to go to the dayroom, but Ms. Thompson said that the residents are fully aware of this.
Recommendation: Hang posters in medical rooms used for those residents exposed to TB or with other possible contagious medical issues informing residents that they are able to visit the dayroom.

Residents are required to return to housing unit at 7:00 pm: The resident cohort that was exposed to Varicella was provided recreation at 7:00pm for one hour. Other residents are asked to return to their housing units to avoid contact. The cohort was separated from the general population and was required to remain in their housing for the entire day, limiting freedom of movement to one hour per day (7pm-8pm). The general population returned to their housing units when the cohort was using the recreation area/yard.

Recommendation: Develop a plan for approval to provide the cohort freedom of movement from 8am to 8pm while maintaining the health of the rest of the residents.

The mothers and children must have just been imagining that the doors to the solitary confinement cells were locked.
Finally, ICE’s long-hidden motive to seeking licensure of family deetention centers came out as dishonest adverstiding pitch, but targeted at a federal judge:
KCRC license
Texas’ licensure of KCRC, or any State’s licensure of child care facilities, does not objectively demonstrate that the facility provides a high quality of care for its residents. Licensing is a minimum threshold–not a marketing endorsement. ICE appears to believe differently.
Regardless, on June 1, 2016, a Texas District Court Judge issued a Temporary Injunction on licensing of the South Texas Family Residential Center, finding that licensing of secure facilities was likely unlawful and against the best interests of the children detained there.
It is outrageous that ICE attempted to convince a federal judge that KCRC’ license proves it provides high quality care for children two days after a Texas State Judge ruled the complete opposite.

DHS’ Massive Fraud On Family Detention

On June 3, 2016, Department of Justice Lawyers alleged that:

“Plaintiffs make claims that are…an attempt to improperly substitute their judgment regarding the operations of ICE family residential centers in place of the judgment of those authorized by Congress to administer these facilities.”

However, Congress did not authorize the Department of Homeland Security to intentionally weaken procedural protections for women and children in the credible and reasonable fear process  and then misrepresent this fact (and many additional facts) to Federal Courts.

Withholding and Manipulation of  Material Statistics Regarding Credible and Reasonable Fear Adjudications (CFI and RFI, respectively)

Recently, I wrote a letter to Asylum Division Chief John Lafferty alleging that USCIS, at the behest of DHS, weakened or eliminated several procedural protections in the CFI and RFI process.

New statistics provided in the June 3, 2016 filing further corroborate my claims. First, the manner in which Mr. Lafferty conveyed the CFI and RFI statistics is extraordinarily selective, as one can see when comparing his declaration with the statistics previously released by USCIS (which was abruptly halted since March of 2015):

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Compare with the below released statistics, which USCIS has inexplicably kept secret since March of 2015:

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As one can see from above, to federal courts, the DHS provides only the total number of positive and negative CFI and RFI determinations for the entire year of FY 2015 and up to May 15, 2016 for FY 2016. There is no month-by-month of facility by facility breakdown of statistics.

Furthermore, the DHS withholds all statistics regarding Credible Fear Reconsideration/Review requests despite this category of statistics being highly material and potentially dispositive as to whether the U.S. District Court Judge renders a decision finding DHS to be in Contempt of her July and August orders.

John Gurule, the ICE’s Assistant Director for Field Operations, provides the specific basis as to why many of the mothers and children were now detained for more than 20 days.

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The “Requests for Review (RFR)” are requests for reconsideration of negative credible fear determinations after the Immigration Judge review process is completed.

It is a certainty that many credible fear review requests have been granted for detained families. The statistics regarding USCIS’ total number of RFR grants and denials over the lifetime of family detention since June of 2014 would enable the U.S public, the Courts, and Plaintiffs to calculate the average percentage of RFRs that are granted and denied.

With this percentage in hand, it is likely that one could establish that the DHS is applying  a policy requiring USCIS to issue blanket denials exclusively against families who challenged their negative credible fear determinations with pending habeas corpus petitions before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

The percentage of RFR grants calculated over a month-by-month basis (or even a week-by-week) may also show that the DHS is selectively turning an RFR grant (and initial CFI grants) “valve” on and off to respond to especially high spikes in family unit apprehensions. USCIS shut off the CFI valve for Artesia in July of 2014 and in Karnes in August of 2014, as the below charts show:

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In the June 3, 2016 filing, the DHS did not issue the CFI grants and denials on a month by month basis. Instead, the DHS provided the CFI statistics into two categories: Fiscal Year of 2015; and 2. Fiscal Year 2016 (October 1, 2015 to May 15, 2016).  By limiting the disclosure of statistics to 12-month and 8 month periods, respectively, the DHS could effectively “cover up” statistical aberrations such as the 40.6% and 59.4% grant rates that occurred in July and August of 2014 in Artesia and Karnes, respectively.

Applying DHS’ disclosures of statistics on June 3, 2016 in Flores to its month-by-month disclosures in Artesia from 07/2014 to 11/2014, it would be fundamentally dishonest to claim that the average credible fear grant rate for all families was 63.6%. In July of 2014, USCIS only found credible fear for 40.6% of families interviewed. In August of 2014, almost 80% were determined to have a credible fear, almost double the percentage of July.

A family who had their credible fear interview in August of 2014 had almost double the chance (80%) of positive decision than a family who had their interview in July of 2014 (40%).

Similarly, with respect  Karnes County Residential Center, in August of 2014, USCIS found credible fear in  only 59.4% of family cases. In October  and November of 2014, the number jumped to 90.1% and 89.2%, respectively, before dropping back down to 63.8%.

Given the past statistical aberrations on positive credible fear determinations from just one month to the next and given that USCIS has failed to release any month by month CF and RF statistics specific to family facilities since March of 2015, the DHS’ decision to only release CF and RF statistics on a year by year basis in the Flores litigation is suspect at best and at worst evidence of the DHS committing fraud on the Court.

To be clear, though, the withholding of all statistics on Credible Fear Review requests is likely evidence of the DHS’ commission of fraud on the Court given that it prevents the Judge from determining whether DHS own justifications for the prolonged detention of several families for 4 months to 10 months were made in good faith. 

THE PRECIPITOUS DROP IN QUALITY ASSURANCE FOR ASYLUM OFFICERS’ NEGATIVE CREDIBLE FEAR DETERMINATIONS. 

 

Credible and reasonable fear interviews are only designed “to quickly identify potentially meritorious claims to protection and to resolve frivolous ones with dispatch.… If an alien passes this threshold-screening standard, his or her claim for protection…will be further examined by an immigration judge in the context of removal proceedings under section 240 of the Act. The screening mechanism also allows for the expeditious review by an immigration judge of a negative screening determination and the quick removal of an alien with no credible claim to protection.”

Asylum Officers have wrongly dispatched non-frivolous credible fear claims in over half of the negative determinations made against individuals detained at Berks, Dilley, Karnes facilities in the time period of November 1, 2015 to May 15, 2016.

Immigration Judges vacated a  587 out of 1,070 negative credible fear determinations issued by USCIS against families.

 

In other words, of the negative CF determinations challenged by USCIS, Immigration Judges decided that the asylum officers’ decisions were wrong 55% of the time.

Similarly, Immigration Judges vacated 78 out of 114 negative reasonable fear determinations issued by USCIS against families. Asylum officers’ negative reasonable fear determinations were wrong 68% of the time, a stunningly high rate of failure.

These numbers are even more shocking when compared to previous percentage rates of Immigraiton Judge vacating NCFI and NRFIs including individuals not detained at family detention facilities

In the Habeas case in, Castro v. Lynch, EOIR provided the following statistics for the entire Immigration Judge Review process nationwide.

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Thus, USCIS’ negative CFI rate was only 30% for the stated time period, which is 25% lower than with respect to detained families.

The below chart from EOIR’s FY2016 Yearbook on Statistics shows even further how profoundly the quality of USCIS’ NCF determinations have fallen exclusively for detained families:

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For the reader’s reference, the percentage of USCIS NCFI’s reversed by Immigration Judges are as follows:

FY 11: 15.6%

FY 12: 19.4%

FY 13: 11.7%

FY 14: 13.7%

FY 15: 17.9%

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It would appear that Asylum Division Chief Lafferty’s decision to now eliminate procedural protections such as headquarters review for families has, to a startling extent, yielded results: USCIS’ negative credible fear determinations have been reversed in an unprecedented number of cases, providing compelling evidence that the quality of USCIS’ negative determinations is significantly poorer against families than compared with everyone else.

MANIPULATION OF STATISTICS ON AVERAGE NUMBER OF DAYS FAMILIES ARE DETAINED AT FAMILY FACILITIES

The DHS provided the following statistics to convince Judge Dlley Gee that it “continues to work diligently to process and release individuals from the FRCs, as appropriate…”:

For the 18,706 residents initially booked into ICE family residential facilities from October 23, 2015, to May 18, 2016, and subsequently released or removed as of May 16, 2016, the average length of stay was 11.8 days. Gurule Decl. ¶ 13.

A small percentage of individuals do remain in ICE family residential centers for longer periods of time, but this too is consistent with the Agreement and the Court’s orders. This is because these individuals fall into one of three categories: (1) individuals who are subject to mandatory detention because they have not established a credible fear, but who have asked USCIS to reconsider their screening determination, and have sought and received stays of removal; (2) individuals who have received a negative credible fear determination, are awaiting removal, and are subject to mandatory detention;11 or (3) individuals in family units with final orders of removal where the parent has been determined to constitute a flight risk. See Gurule Decl. ¶ 14 and Exh. 9;

Without explanation, the DHS and DOJ only provided the average length of stay for families who were initially booked into ICE FRCs starting on October 23, 2015. As a result, the DHS excluded from its average the families who have been detained the longest–those who were initially booked into FRCs prior to October 23, 2015 and remained detained as of the date of June 3, 2016.

The DHS even references these same individuals when it states to the Judge that “a small percentage of individuals remain in detention”, which include some of the families listed in Exhibit 9.

Exhibit 9 contains at least two individuals–Victor and Ludwin–who were initially booked into family detention centers prior to October 23, 2015. Furthermore, the list of names in Exhibit 9 only include individuals who made declarations in support of the Plaintiffs’ motion to enforce.

As such, it was fraudulent for DHS to exclude the class members detained for the longest periods of time from its average days detention figures.

Also, note, the bizarre manner in which the conveys the following: “Of these 18,706 residents, 58% were released or removed in 10 days or less, 96% in 20 days or less, and 99% in 30 days or less. Id. Of those detained as of May 16, 2016, the average length of stay is 17.7 days. Of those detained as of May 16, 2016, 44% have been detained 10 days or less; 88%, 20 days or less, and 94%, 30 days or less. Id.”

If one is trying to provide a clear picture with the use of percentage figures, one does not double and triple count percentages to add up to over 100%. Confused? I was too.

The DHS presented the statistics as if it was providing three distinct categories when in reality it provided only 1 distinct category and two overlapping categories, thereby shielding the true number of families detained in each distinct category.

Here is what DHS really provided:

% of residents released or removed in 10 days or less

% of residents released or removed in 10 days less and 20 days or less;

% of residents released or removed in 10 days or less, 20 days or less, and 30 days or less.

An honest submission would require actually distinct categories, with a range of days that includes the least amount of days any family was detained with the maximum amount of days that any family was detained. Here is a translation of the Feds’ fraudulent submission:

  1. 58% (10,849)of residents were released or removed within 0-10 days;
  2. 38% (7,108) of residents were released or removed within 11-20 days;
  3. 3% (561) of residents were released or removed within 21-30 days;
  4. 1% (187) of residents were released or removed within 31 or more days;

In a twist of dishonesty that can only be attributed to the DOJ lawyers representing DHS, the memorandum omits to the Judge, unlike Mr. Gurule, that 1734 members of families remained detained as of May 16, 2016.

Here is another translation of the DHS’ fraudulent numbers with respect to those still detained:

 

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  1. 44% (762) of residents detained for 0-10 days;
  2. 44% (762) of residents detained 11-20 days;
  3. 6% (104) of residents detained 21-30 days;
  4. 6% (104) of residents detained for 31 or more days.

 

Given the above, it becomes so much more likely that the DHS is the party who is improperly substituting their judgement regarding the operations of the credible and reasonable fear process in place of the judgment authorized by Congress. And that and  willfully telling an untruth to a Court is unlawful?

 

 

 

 

Obama’s Family Detention Policy: Threaten Rape Victims With Criminal Prosecution

This is the second part in a series unraveling a trove of recently filed evidence that illuminate for the first time many of  the profoundly unlawful, immoral, and unconscionable conditions of the Obama administration’s family detention centers.

One set of documents included a declaration on the Karnes County Family Residential (Jail) Center and supporting documents, which included an English and Spanish Residential Handbook.

Given what is contained in these handbooks, it’s likely that no one in the government reviewed the contents before filing them as evidence. First, a refresher:

ICE began to detain children and mothers in KCRC in August of 2014. Since then, there have been numerous reports of sexual assault committed by staff against detainees as well as detainees against detainees.

Last month, the Huffington Post reported that “a woman locked locked in a Texas immigrant detention center is alleging that her 12-year-old daughter was sexually abused by another detainee there last month.”

Despite this report, ICE’s public defense as to why the mother and child were still detained months after the reported sexual abuse was simply that  “The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, Child Advocacy Centers and the Karnes County (Texas) Sheriff’s Department  closed the case on April 20 because the “information provided by the minor could not be corroborated, and the case lacked evidence to pursue any further action.”

But the a lack of corroborating evidence is not a basis to close an investigation into sexual abuse given that in many sexual assault cases, there is no corroborating evidence. And that was clearly the case here because the factual allegations–hat an unrelated adult female “flashed the child and touched the child’s genitals–would likely not produce physical, corroborating evidence.

The only other evidence to corroborate or conversely disprove the allegation  would be accounts of eyewitnesses to the acts of sexual abuse. ICE does not claim that there was any detrimental evidence to the child’s account and as such, it is reasonable to conclude that the investigation into the child’s allegations of abuse was a sham.

Indeed, it was not the first time an investigation into sexual abuse  of a child disappeared as if nothing ever happened, as a whistleblower described in a declaration: 

“After the teenagers were all housed in rooms without any parents, it is my understanding that five boys began bullying another effeminate boy. I understood there were allegations that several assaulted the effeminate boy. All six boys involved, including the victim, were eventually placed in isolation with their families for days.

The KCRC’s Policies on Sexual Assault Should be Called the Prison Rape Enabling Act

The DHS implemented federal regulations to come into compliance with The Prison Rape Elimination Act. The KCRC policies do not only disregard the PREA regs, but also enable sexual assault by creating an environment rife with fear.

 PREA, a federal law created to prevent rape in prisons, jails, or detention centers.

On Page 6 of the KCRC’s residential handbook (Rev. March or May 2016), there is a heading titled INAPPROPRIATE RELATIONSHIPS WITH STAFF. Below it is provided in its entirety in both the English and Spanish version:

“Mothers and children should be aware of how to handle situations in which they perceive themselves to be the object of sexual advances or other inappropriate behavior by staff members. Any type of sexual advance by any staff member directed toward any mother or child is a strict violation of policy. Similarly, it is a violation of the rules for a mother or child to direct advances towards resident advisors or other staff. Resident advisors or other staff may not solicit a mother or child in any way for any type of sexual favors. Doing so may result in criminal prosecution. The same applies for a mother or child. This includes any conversations that might lead to sexual involvement. (emphasis added)”

Los Residentes deben tener cuidado con el modo en que manejan ciertas situaciones en las cuales se consideren objeto de insinuaciones sexuales u otro comportamiento inapropiado por parte de los miembros del personal. Todo tipo de insinuaciónes sexual que un miembro del personal realice a un residente constituye una violación grave a la política de la institución. Similarmente, es una violación de las reglas para los residentes hacer avances directos al personal. El personal no puede solicitar los residentes de cualquier manera para cualquier tipo de favores sexuales. Si lo hace, puede dar lugar a enjuiciamiento penal. Lo mismo se aplica para los residentes. Esto incluye todas las conversaciones que podrían conducir a la relación sexual.

 

I was so shocked when I first read this paragraph, I had to read it through several times to make sure I had not lost my mind.

 The handbook clearly states that if a staff member solicits a mother or child for any type of sexual favor, it may result in criminal prosecution to the staff member, the mother or child, or both. The sentence “The same applies for a mother or child” immediately follows the previous sentence of “doing so may result in criminal prosecution”, thus creating an unequivocally clear message to its targeted audience–mothers and children–that if they are caught in any form of sexual acts with a staff member they can be criminally prosecuted. 

The highlighted text directly contradicts both statutory and regulatory definitions of what constitutes sexual assault in a detention center and, above all, has an unmistakable effect of discouraging mothers and children victims of sexual abuse from filing complaints with Government officials. “Even if you fit the definition of a victim of criminal sexual assault under the law, you will be criminally prosecuted for it” is precisely what the text states.

It doesn’t stop there.

Below, DHS and GEO provide Mothers and Children with a false definition of sexual assault and then, yet again, threaten to discipline mothers and children who may be victims of sexual assault under federal law.

SEXUAL ASSAULT AWARENESS:

DEFINITIONS:

Resident-on-Resident Sexual Abuse/Assault: One or more residents engaging in, or attempting to engage in a sexual act with another resident or the use of threats, intimidation, inappropriate touching or other actions and/or communications by one or more residents aimed at coercing and/or pressuring another resident to engage in a sexual act.

Staff-on-Resident Sexual Abuse/Assault: Staff member engaging in, or attempting to engage in a sexual act with any resident or the intentional touching of a resident’s genitalia, anus, groin, breast, inner thigh, or buttocks with the intent to abuse, humiliate, harass, degrade, arouse, or gratify the sexual desires of any person. Sexual abuse/assault of residents by staff or other residents is an inappropriate use of power and is prohibited by ICE policy and the law.

Staff Sexual Misconduct is: Sexual behavior between a staff member and resident which can include, but is not limited to indecent, profane or abusive language or gestures and inappropriate visual surveillance of residents.

PROHIBITED ACTS:

A mother and/or child, who engages in inappropriate sexual behavior with or directs it at others, can be charged with the following Prohibited Acts under the Resident Disciplinary Policy.

Code 112: Use of Vulgar, Abusive, or Obscene Phrases/ Language Code

209: Verbal Sexual Harassment of a Resident

Code 303: Rape/Sexual Assault

CONOCIMIENTO SOBRE LOS ASALTOS SEXUALES Definiciones:

Asalto/Abuso sexual de un Residente por parte de otro Residente: Uno o mas de un residente que participen o intenten participar en un acto sexual con otro residente; o el uso de amenazas, intimidaciones, manoseos inapropiados u otras acciones y/o comunicaciones de parte de uno o más de un residente con el objetivo de obligar y/o presionar a otro residente para que participe en un acto sexual.

Asalto/Abuso sexual de un Residente por parte de un miembro del personal: Un miembro del personal que participe o intente participar en un acto sexual con cualquier residente; o el manoseo intencional de los genitales, el ano, la ingle, el pecho, la parte interior del muslo o los glúteos con la intención de abusar, humillar, acosar, degradar, excitar o satisfacer los deseos sexuales de cualquier persona. El asalto/abuso sexual de los residentes por parte del personal o de otros residentes se considera un uso inapropiado del poder y tanto la política de ICE como la ley lo prohíben.

Conducta sexual inadecuado por parte del Personal: El comportamiento sexual entre un miembro del personal y un residente, que puede incluir pero no limitada, a lenguaje o gestos indecentes, profanos, u ofensivos y vigilancia de forma inapropiada de los residentes.

Actos Prohibidos

Un Residente que participe en un acto sexual inapropiado con o dirigido a otras personas, puede ser acusado de los siguientes Actos Prohibidos, según la Política Disciplinaria del Residente.

Código 112: Uso de lenguaje vulgar, o frases obscenas/abusivas Código

209: Acoso sexual verbal de un residente

Código 303: Violacion/Acoso Sexual

The definition of sexual assault is found in the DHS’ PREA regulations and the U.S. Code. 

The PREA regulations definition of sexual assault can be found at 6 CFR 115.6(5):

“Sexual abuse of a detainee by a staff member, contractor, or volunteer includes any of the following acts, if engaged in by one or more staff members, volunteers, or contract personnel who, with or without the consent of the detainee, engages in or attempts to engage in:”

The above regulations reflects the federal 8 U.S.C. 2243(b), Sexual Abuse of a Ward:

Whoever, in the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States or in a Federal prison, or in any prison, institution, or facility in which persons are held in custody by direction of or pursuant to a contract or agreement with the head of any Federal department or agency, knowingly engages in a sexual act with another person who is 

(1) in official detention; and

(2) under the custodial, supervisory, or disciplinary authority of the person so engaging

or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 15 years, or both.

The KCRC handbook does not explicitly state nor does it ever mention that it is a legal impossibility for a mother or child to have “consensual” sex with a GEO or ICE staff member.

Mothers and children are literally in the custody of the GEO and ICE staff. This scenario is the equivalent of children who are totally dependent on their custodians and other adults who are able to exert control over them. Just like a 14 year old cannot consent to sex with an adult, a mother or child at KCRC cannot consent to sex with a GEO or ICE staff member.

The KCRC policy stated above, simply put, threatens victims of felony rape with criminal prosecution if they are a victim of rape by a staff member of KCRC. 

In the last section, the manual at Karnes tells mothers and children that if they engage in any sexual inappropriate behavior with or directed at others, they may be charged with Sexual Assault or Rape.

Again, mothers and children are led to believe that any sexual conduct with anyone, even if it was without the mother or child’s consent, can result in being charged with rape and sexual assault.

Lastly, the KCRC finishes the victim blaming tirade with an ourtrageous list of tips to avoid becoming a victim of sexual assault:

AVOIDING SEXUAL ASSAULT:

Here are some things you can do to protect yourself against sexual assault:

  • Carry yourself in a confident manner. Many offenders choose victims who look like they would not fight backor who they think are emotionally weak.
  • Do not accept gifts or favors from others. Most gifts or favors come with strings attached to them.
  • Do not accept an offer from another adult resident and/or child to be your protector.
  • Find a staff member with whom you feel comfortable discussing your fears and concerns. Report concerns!
  • Do not use drugs or alcohol; these can weaken your ability to stay alert and make good judgments.
  • Avoid talking about sex. Other residing here may believe you have an interest in a sexual relationship.
  • Be clear, direct and firm. Do not be afraid to say NO or STOP IT NOW.
  • Stay in well-lit areas of the facility.
  • Choose your associates wisely. Look for people who are involved in positive activities like educationalprograms, work opportunities, or counseling groups. Get involved in these activities yourself.
  • Trust your instincts. Be aware of situations that make you feel uncomfortable. If it does not feel right orsafe, leave the situation. If you fear for your safety, report your concerns to staff

Evitando las Agresiones Sexuales

Aquí hay algunos consejos para protegerse de las agresiones sexuales:
• Siga adelante demostrando seguridad. Muchos agresores eligen víctimas que lucen como personas que no se resistirían o que consideran que son débiles emocionalmente.

.No acepte regalos o favores de los demás. La mayoría de los regalos y favores traen aparejados otros compromisos.

.Si otro residente le ofrece ser su protector, no lo acepte.

Encuentre a un miembro del personal con quien se sienta cómodo para hablar sobre sus miedos y preocupaciones. ¡Reporte preocupaciones!

No consuma drogas ni alcohol, ya que pueden debilitar su capacidad para estar alerto y tomar

buenas decisiones.

Evite hablar sobre sexo. Otros residentes pueden pensar que usted tiene interés en una relación sexual.

Sea claro, directo y firme. No tenga miedo de decir NO o BASTA.

Manténgase en áreas bien iluminadas de la institución.

Elija bien a sus compañeros. Busque personas que participen en actividades positivas, como

programas educativos, oportunidades laborales o grupos de consejería. Participe también en estas actividades.

Confíe en sus instintos. Sea consciente de las situaciones que lo hacen sentir incómodo. Si no se siente bien ni seguro, retírese. Si teme por su seguridad, infórmele sus preocupaciones al personal.

In other words,  “If you do not talk about sex and are a good girl or boy, you probably won’t be raped!”

There is one other significant gigantic misrepresentation I will point out.

Juanita Hester, the Assistant Field Office Director (AFOD) in charge of supervising the KCRC, wrote in her sworn declaration to Judge Dolly Gee that:

“There is a 24-hour walk-in medical clinic, and some dental care is provided on-site.”

This is pure false statement according to ICE’s own handbook, which also has differing descriptions of the KCRC policy for medical treatment. The English version, which ICE claims was revised in March of 2016 despite the cover page and first 11 pages stating May of 2016, describes what one must do to receive medical attention:

Professional staff members provide medical services for persons housed at this facility. Sick call slips are reviewed and put into order by priority cases, which are seen within twelve (12) hours. Medical staff will gather sick call requests each shift and see patients. If you feel you have a medical problem of an emergency nature, notify any staff member and you will be evaluated by the medical staff for more immediate treatment.

  • You must sign yourself up for sick call. The resident advisor(s) or another mother cannot do it for you.
  • Sick call requests must be deposited into one (1) of the medical drop boxes located in any of the facilitydayrooms and/or dining hall. Write your request and place in the mailbox located in the dayroom or dining

    hall.

  • Someone from the medical department will pick up all requests on each shift seven (7) days per week.
  • You will be instructed when to report to medical when scheduled by the medical staff.
  • You will not be charged for medical services while a residing at this facility

If a mother or her child is sick, they must go through an lengthy process. First, the mother must herself fill out a sick call slip, deposit it in some mailbox, and then wait up to 12 hours to be seen for an appointment.

In a world where children aren’t imprisoned, if a child is sick enough to cause a parent to call the doctor, the child is seen that same day.

In an even more bizarre twist, the Spanish version of the medical policy is materially different:

El personal professional de salud les brinda servicios de atención médica para los que estan detenidos en este centro. Mientras está aquí, si está enfermo y siente que necesita atención médica, el personal del departamento de médico pueden verlo durante las visitas médicas. Las solicitudes de visita médica son revisadas y organizadas empezando con los casos prioritarios, que generalmente, se citan el día siguiente. Si siente que tiene algún problema de salud y siente que es de emergencia, comuníqueselo al personal de KCRC y será evaluado por el personal de médico para recibir un tratamiento más inmediato.

  • Usted tiene que apuntarse para solicitar las visitas médicas. El personal de KCRC u otro residente no puede hacerlo por usted.
  • Escriba su solicitud y depositelo en una de las cajas de médico localizadas en las salas de estar y en el comedor.
  • Alguien del departamento de medico recogerá las solicitudes los siete (7) dias de la semana.
  • Usted será acompañado al departamento de médico cuando se solicita por el departamento demedico.
  • No se le cobrará por los servicios de medico mientras sea un residente de este centro.

Thus, the Obama administration represented to a U.S. District Court Judge three factually different polices policies for medical treatment at KCRC.

In Spanish, DHS states that the sick call requests will generally be seen the following day. The following day could mean that the sick child or mother will likely have to wait from over 12 hours and potentially in excess of 24 hours from the moment they deposit a sick call slip the moment they are evaluated  by the medical staff at KCRC.

In sum, the Obama administration’s own evidence reveal  unconscionable policies that threaten rape victims with criminal prosecution and that the Obama administration made yet even more reckless false statements to a Federal Judge, the public, media, and the Plaintiffs.

 

Obama’s Fictionalized Account of Berks County Children Jail

Introduction

At 11 pm this past Friday, the Obama administration filed  a trove of documents with U.S. District Court Judge Dolly Gee to defend against allegations that their continued detention of thousands of children has  “…consistently violated the Settlement since the summer of 2014 and this Court’s Orders since August 2015…Their conduct is lawless and contemptuous.”

Ironically, the most most recent disclosed emphatically shows  that the Obama administration has nothing but contempt for the Judicial branch. Leon Fresco, Obama’s lead family detention lawyer, claimed that the attorneys for the children “make claims that are inaccurate, misleading, or an attempt to improperly substitute their judgment regarding the operations of ICE family residential centers in place of the judgment of those authorized by Congress to administer these facilities”

Fresco must have had a freudian slip because the evidence his client submitted proves the only misleading party to the lawsuit is the Obama administration.

This will be the first in several articles that analyzes the Feds’ voluminous evidence dump and shows that the Obama administration is committing an elaborate, systematic fraud on the Court, the Plaintiffs, Congress, and the U.S. public.

To defend allegations regarding Family Detention Centers  or Family Residential Centers (FRC) and border patrol holding cells, the DHS submitted 29 exhibits.

Each declaration from ICE addresses distinct subject. This article will address to ICE’s specific allegations regarding the conditions of detention at the Berks County Residential Center.

However, every declaration ICE submitted with respect to family detention centers alleges overlapping facts to defend prolonged detention of families. This general and more complex subject will be addressed in a later article.

Berks County Children Jail

Joshua Reid, an Assistant Field Office Director in ICE’s Philadelphia Office, made both direct and indirect misrepresentations of facts in a failed attempt to erase its brazen, ongoing breach–detaining dozens of children for 4 to 10 months in secure detention facilities–of  U.S. District Court Judge Dolly Gee’s orders issued in July and August of 2015.

Reid’s declaration states in  Paragraph 13 under the heading Complaints  Regarding Observational Checks at Night, that:

“Several declarants indicated that ‘guards’ shine flashlights on the residents several times (15 minute intervals) at night making it difficult to sleep. As an initial matter,  there are no ‘guards’ at the BCRC. Counselors are stationed throughout the facility to ensure the safety and security of residents and to assist with any issues or needs.”

A current Berks County Job Posting for “Shelter Care Counselor” directly contradicts Mr. Reid’s claims. As you can see below, part of the job requirement to be a “counselor” is the “Ability to  restrain residents of all ages” and to provide “care for dependent children and families within a minimum secure , residential environment.”

In response to mothers’ complaints that guards at Berks shine flashlights on mothers and children every 15 minutes throughout the night, Mr. Reid continued to openly misrepresent both facts and law:

“Observational checks are required by 55 Pa. Code 3800.57(a): “While children are at the facility, children shall be supervised during awake and sleeping hours by conducting observational checks of each child at least every  hour. During overnight hours, BCRC staff conduct room checks every 15 minutes. BFRC implemented 15 minute checks after consulting and agreeing with Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (PA DHS) that it would be best practice…BFRC is currently working with PA DHS to change the nighttime room check requirements from every 15 minutes to once every hour.”

There are multiple dishonest components in just this one paragraph. First, Mr. Reid did not disclose that BFRC’s is currently following 55 PA. Code 3800.274(7), which states “The following additional requirements apply to facilities in which secure care is provided:…(7)

(7)  Children shall be supervised by conducting observational checks of each child within 15 minute intervals during sleeping hours.”

In other words, the BFRC continues to operate as a secure care detention facility, which was a critical factor in PA DHS’ decision to effectively revoke BFRC’ state license:

“[the PA DHS] believes that the current use of the Berks County Residential Center (BCRC) as a family  residential center is inconsistent with its current license as a child residential facility…If the County commits to cease its current use of the BCRC as a secure facility for  refugee families and provides a plan to transition the facility to a use that is consistent with its existing license.”(emphasis added)

ted dallas letterIt is illegal under PA law to house children such as those at BFRC in secure care facilities. Therefore, PA DHS would not state that 15 minute nighttime observational checks–which is solely a requirement for children detained in secure care facilities–are “best practice.”

Moving along Mr. Reid’s train wreck of a declaration, he responds to several mothers who complained that they are unable to freely leave BFRC without permission:

“The BFRC is an un-secured facility  where residents can  freely move about within its non-restricted areas and its outdoor recreational spaces. Insofar as the residents are in ICE custody, they are prohibited from leaving the center and its grounds without authorization or supervision. If a resident were to leave BFRC without authorization, they could be considered a fugitive and subsequently may  be arrested by ICE officers depending on the circumstances…These counselors do not have the authority to arrest a resident”

“BFRC is an un-secured facility; there are no physical impediments to a resident departing the facility. If a resident were to leave BFRC without authorization, however, they could be considered a fugitive and subsequently may be arrested by ICE officers…”

ICE’s claim that BFRC is an un-secured facility is a reckless lie.

Mr. Reid attempts to persuade the Court that Berks is un-secure  by fraudulently representing that it is the inverse of the PA Code’s definition of “secure-care” facilities for children  as stated  by 55 Pa. Code 3800.5:

Secure care—Care provided in a 24-hour living setting to one or more children who are delinquent or alleged delinquent, from which voluntary egress is prohibited through one of the following mechanisms:

(i)   Egress from the building, or a portion of the building, is prohibited through internal locks within the building or exterior locks

(ii)  Egress from the premises is prohibited through secure fencing around the perimeter of the building.

But ICE’s own evidence directly contradicts Mr. Reid’s claims. The Berks Family Residential Handbook repeatedly states that there is, in fact, physical impediments to departing the facility:

The Center is comprised of two floors and an outdoor campus. The first floor, where you first entered the Center is the activity (A) floor and the second floor is the bedroom (B) floor. The outdoor campus is outlined by a post and rail fence. P. 16. 

When not participating in an organized activity, residents must stay within the boundaries of the post and rail fence. Should you need to leave this area, to retrieve a ball, etc., you must first notify staff supervising the area.

Additionally, Guards are physical impediments to stop Mothers and Children from leaving the facility. The fact that Guards are living organisms does not preclude them from being a physical impediment to prevent children and moms from departing BFRC.

The contract between Berks County and ICE to operate BFRC specifically requires that Berks provide the following:

E .Guard Services: The Service Provider agrees to provide stationary guard services on demand by the COTR or Contracting Officer and shall include, but is not limited to, escorting and guarding residents/detainees to medical or doctor’s appointments, hearings, ICE interviews, and any other location requested by the COTR.

Furthermore, the Contract specifically calls for Berks County to have plans in place to apprehend residents who attempt to escape.

Attempts to apprehend the escapee(s) shall be in accordance with the Emergency Plan, which should comply with ICE Detention Operations Manual regarding Emergency Plans. •

Although Berks County guards do not have the authority to make an  official “arrest”, the contract requires Berks County staff to apprehend residents who attempt to escape the BFRC.

Mr. Reid (again, certainly assisted by a DOJ lawyer) intentionally used the word “arrest” instead of “apprehend” or “restrain” to create future space for plausible deniability. If the Court aggressively questions its claims that Berks is “un-secure”,  ICE will say that it’s policy was always to restrain or apprehend any mothers or children who attempt to escape the facility.

Mr. Reid, instead, only said that ICE may or may not arrest and prosecute mothers and children with the federal crime of escape.

After all, ICE residential standard 2.10, Use of Physical Force and Restraints begins with, “…staff is authorized to use the minimum force necessary…for prevention of escape…”

Mr. Reid’s defended allegations that detained men are commingled with with detained mothers and children at Berks with the following:  “Both male and female residents are precluded from entering the bedrooms of occupied by an adults.”

A PA DHS violation report dated April 28, 2016, ordered Berks County to stop placing female children in rooms with unrelated adult males after making finding the following violation

“Child shared a bedroom and bathroom with 2 male children and 2 adult males. The resident bathrooms located in each bedroom do not have solid doors for entry. The entryway is covered by a curtain…There is 13″ of mesh at the top of the curtain, and a 17″ opening at the bottom.”

Perhaps Mr. Reid believes he can claim he did not perjure himself  because he  only claimed that the rules preclude children of the opposite sex from sharing a bedroom but did not claim that the rules were adhered to.  But Mr. Reid was directly responding to the specific, factual allegations of  Declarants Celina and Karen and  thus cannot avail himself of any defense to perjury. The allegations are either true or not. Mr. Reid claimed the allegations were not true. 

In sum, Mr. Reid’s declaration is a fictionalized account of the Berks County Residential Center designed to lull readers into believing its numerous false statements of fact.

ICE Boss: “My officers don’t have the authority” to enter homes

ERO  boss,  Thomas Homan, testified to the following at a Senate Judiciary Committee on February 23, 2016 regarding unaccompanied minors. 

“The Spanish media, the Spanish Newspapers, a lot of NGOs are educating these folks on how not to comply with law enforcement, so there has been many situations where we have been at the residence and we know they are there,  but they won’t open the door, and my officers don’t have the authority of course to go into that house. So, it’s getting more difficult…

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