Extraordinary [Domestic] Rendition: ICE Perpetuating Human Rights Abuses

Media Consortium Note: This week’s Diaspora is short due to the holidays. We’ll be back to full-length next week.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), an arm of the Department of Homeland Security, apparently isn’t beholden to US or international law. In The NationJacqueline Stevens reveals the “clandestine operations, akin to extraordinary renditions” carried out by ICE.

Beyond the department’s public list of detention facilities—many of which are already sites of alleged abuse—ICE is also “confining people in 186 unlisted and unmarked subfield offices” around the nation. According to Alison Parker, deputy director of Human Rights Watch, these secret detention centers may violate the UN’s Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which the United States is a signatory.

But what’s most appalling is ICE’s assertion that the department is some sort of super-police with powers of rendition. James Pendergraph, former executive director of ICE’s Office of State and Local Coordination, said in late 2008 that “if you don’t have enough evidence to charge someone criminally, but you think he’s illegal, we can make him disappear.” The boldness with which a law official would state such an idea is confounding; the confession, if true, is criminal.

Last week, The Diaspora wrote about the introduction of the CIR ASAP immigration bill by Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL). Freshman Congressman Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) is a recent addition to the list of 87 cosponsors on the bill, as The Colorado Independent reported last Wednesday. This is a positive step forward. The bill will most likely be sponsored in the senate by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY). CIR ASAP establishes a basic layout of progressive immigration reform, but the final bill will probably become more focused on enforcement in Schumer’s hands.

Finally, David Moberg reports on the Obama administration’s controversial use of “audits” to purge employment payrolls of undocumented workers for In These Times. While the audit method is much quieter and less likely to make headlines, it is also ineffective. Not only do audits rely upon “flawed federal databases” to judge who is documented, they also purge immigrants who are “legal.”

As the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Executive Vice-President Eliseo Medina explains, workers fired as a result of ICE probes or audits do find other, lower-paying jobs that offer even less protection to the worker. Ultimately the number of undocumented workers in the US remains the same, and the entire exercise but “a losing game of musical chairs.” Medina stresses that SEIU is not suggesting the law shouldn’t be enforced, simply that it be enforced in a way that works.

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about immigration by membersof The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint.  This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of leading independent media outlets.

HR4437 on Flickr via Creative Commons

By Nezua, Media Consortium


Michelle Saunders

It is so hard to keep up with all that is going on right now in our world. Add in Politics, War, Conspiracy Theories, Big Brother, the list goes on and on and I find myself drained. Thankfully God knows, and I am content with that thought. It is a scary world for all. Now we have to help our fellow brothers build again due to earthquakes. Mother Nature makes the list as well. Best of luck to ALL in these trying times. We all need each other, try to stay available to your fellow neighbor. Most could use a helping hand.God Bless. Michelle

Mary Latela
Mary Latela6 years ago

We are all from somewhere else. When will we stop closing the gates to others who seek the same freedom to live and work and take care of their families?

Barbara H.
Barbara H.6 years ago

Time for President Obama to make good on one of his campaign promises and repeal the Patriot Act!!!! What a joke it is, another one of Bush's brilliant ideas that has taken away what little freedom we had left, any phone can be tapped, it gives law enforcement the right to do anything they want any time they want . . . America is turning into something like a very bad futuristic movie, pretty soon the people who have been born and raised here all their lives will start "disappearing," too, cuz someone thinks they should. There is no excuse for all these detention camps or even Guantanamo Bay to exist any more, most of the people who are locked up in them have done nothing wrong except being Iranian or Hispanic, but the CIA and U.S. military personnel has told us for the last eight yrs they are terrorists, if they are such terrible criminals, how come most of them haven't even been charged with anything?? We are fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in which we shouldn't even have gotten involved because they "need" to be democratic nations -- says who?? hey, it's not much different over here than it is over there nowadays, makes a person wonder which country is actually changing and how "democratic" America has become, almost seems as though we are becoming more and more like the countries we are supposedly fighting to change every day! Police can pull you over for no reason at all any time they want, and their powers extend everywhere. Bye, bye, democracy!!!

James Carpenter
Past Member 6 years ago

thank you for this post, I think I stop in the UK for a few years!

Lilith Graves
Lilith Graves6 years ago


Lionel Mann
Lionel Mann6 years ago

So much for "freedom" and "democracy"! The U.S.A. is degenerating into a police-state such as we saw somewhere back in the thirties. Where, as well as Guantanamo, are your concentration camps? Yet you attempt to impose your "ideals" upon others. Rank hypocrisy!

Judith Emerson
Judith Emerson6 years ago

If you saw "Food, Inc." you know that the corporations who hire "illegal aliens" have a deal w/ICE. Company recruiters go south of the border to hire workers, sign them up, & then truck the "illegals" safely across our borders w/no hindrance from border guards or ICE. Then the "illegals" go to work &, periodically, their numbers are thinned out a little by ICE "raids" that round up a few, designated by the company, & these people are summarily deported. No courts need be involved. And the process continues, giving us cheap, cheap prices as the lives of living, breathing people are slightly blessed...maybe..& then ripped apart. Not much different from the cheap, cheap goods we demand from China, Indonesia, India, etc., etc., etc. We, the people of the U.S., don't care as long as we get our "stuff" at cheap, cheap prices. "Little wheel spins round & round. Big wheel turns(/grinds) around & around." --Buffy Sainte-Marie said that.)

Rajshree B.
Rajshree B.6 years ago

Thanks for the post!

Jim Steve
Jim Steve6 years ago

......Nancy Clancey.............."There is just something so completely eerie and creepy about making people "disappear"" .

Yep, so what does this mean: "Here's how the bad deal went down. After hearing passionate arguments from the Obama Administration, the Supreme Court acquiesced to the president's fervent request and, in a one-line ruling, let stand a lower court decision that declared torture an ordinary, expected consequence of military detention, while introducing a shocking new precedent for all future courts to follow: anyone who is arbitrarily declared a "suspected enemy combatant" by the president or his designated minions is no longer a "person." They will simply cease to exist as a legal entity. They will have no inherent rights, no human rights, no legal standing whatsoever -- save whatever modicum of process the government arbitrarily deigns to grant them from time to time, with its ever-shifting tribunals and show trials."........ http://chris-floyd.com/component/content/article/1-latest-news/1887-dred-scott-redux-obama-and-the-supremes-stand-up-for-slavery.html

Hmmmmmm.....equality for all of us is in the works!!!! The Government reserves the the right to make any of us disappear......

Philippa P.
Philippa P.6 years ago

When we will be kinder and gentler?