Just five short days ago, ICE announced our new smartphone app, which seeks the public's help in finding and identifying fugitive and unknown suspect child predators. Less than 36 hours after the launch, Mark Robert Austin, a Michigan man wanted for child exploitation, was arrested.
We were able to find and arrest Austin thanks to a tip that we received via our hotline.
This arrest is a testament to the American peoples' willingness to assist us in apprehending those who seek to harm our children.
In the days following the launch we had an overwhelmingly positive response. In fact, as of Sept. 16, we have had more than 74,000 total downloads of the app.
So, to each and every individual who installed the app – I would like to say thank you. And to every concerned citizen who decided to take the step to make the call, thank you. And to the brave men and women who made the arrest and put their lives on the line every day – thank you.
If it weren't for people like you, we would not have arrested Austin last week, nor would we be as effective in our efforts to fight child exploitation.
Let's continue to fight child exploitation together.
June 13 we announced the recovery of the long-lost Rosenberg Diary – the meticulous reflections of one of Nazi Germany's most notorious leaders, Alfred Rosenberg. Rosenberg was a close confidant of Adolf Hitler, ranking member of the Nazi Party, and influential figure of the Third Reich.
Rosenberg served as head of the Nazi Party's foreign affairs department and as the Reich Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories. He was also one of the Nazi's principal racial theorists whose ideology was used to justify the German persecution and annihilation of Jews. After the war, he was tried by the Allies at the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg, Germany; found guilty; and hanged on October 16, 1946.
He left behind the diary he kept from 1934 to 1944. The diary was seized by the victorious Allies and used by the prosecution at Nuremberg. Sometime between 1946 and 1949, however, most of the diary wandered off and was lost to history – lost, that is, until now.
Why is the Rosenberg Diary of such significance? As time marches on, there are fewer and fewer living witnesses to the horrors of the Third Reich. Sixty-eight years have passed since the Fall of Berlin, and soon there will be no more human testimony of what happened during the Holocaust, and, just as is important, how it happened. So, it's critical to locate and preserve all written records from this time period. These 400 pages are a window into the dark soul of one of the great wrongs in human history. No longer will we have to guess at what is in them.
This is not the first time that ICE has been involved in the recovery of an artifact that was looted during World War II. We've recovered and returned a bookmark once belonging to Adolf Hitler; a Hebrew bible, stolen on Kristallnacht; and numerous works of art removed from their rightful homes during the war. Why do we spend time and valuable resources on efforts of this kind? Aren't there more serious things to focus on: drug smugglers, child molesters, gang members? We aren't just addressing the theft of any one artifact. We are protecting the cultural heritage of other countries and their citizens, just as we would expect them to protect ours. If we ignore these crimes, we debase our past. The recovery and return of the cultural heritage of other countries will continue to be an important mission for ICE.
This past month demonstrated the immense power of public awareness in protecting our children, and the role social media plays in that. In mid-May, HSI special agents investigating a heinous child predator case ran out of leads and turned to the media and general public for help via the social networks of ICE and partner organizations.
A day after posting the man's photo to social media, a tip from the public led to the capture of the alleged predator and more importantly, the rescue of a child. I applaud our investigators, the media and the brave individual who provided critical information. Without the public's help, we would not have solved this case.
We can and must continue working together to protect our children, and bring predators to justice. If you haven't done so already, subscribe to ICE's social media, as well as the networks of our partners, such as the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. I encourage you to remain vigilant, and share our messages in emergency situations.
The results are tangible. One child victim in imminent danger was rescued, and the alleged predator was taken off the streets.
In January, ICE's high profile investigations led to great results. At the beginning of the year we announced the conclusion of Operation Sunflower, in which we identified 123 victims of child sexual exploitation, 44 of whom were directly rescued from their abusers. We also announced the results of Operation Dark Night, a lengthy investigation into a sex trafficking ring operating in Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas. This sinister organization was conducting what essentially amounts to slavery, and we rescued as many as 11 victims.
While many people know law enforcement goes after the bad guys, they may not know that we also active seek out and rescue the victims. ICE is fully committed to conducting victim-centered investigations; the identification, rescue and stabilization of the victim is just as important to us as the apprehension and prosecution of the criminal.
Our Victim Assistance Program is a critical resource to HSI investigations. We have 350 victim assistance coordinators and victim specialists devoted to ensuring victims have everything they need in the way of emergency medical assistance, food, shelter, and other emergency needs for immediate rescue and stabilization. Referrals are made to non-governmental organizations for case management, legal services, and long-term needs. And we have special procedures and training in place to deal with juvenile victims of trafficking.
January was National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. It is important to be aware that we all play a vital role in identifying and eliminating all forms of slavery and human trafficking all year long. At ICE we are proud to do our part. And, I am personally proud of the enormous successes we've already had this year and I look forward to many more.
This week in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, at the Virtual Global Taskforce (VGT) conference, ICE's Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) will take a leading international role in the attack against child exploitation.
ICE, represented by HSI, was appointed chair and secretariat of the VGT, an international alliance of 18 law enforcement agencies and private sector partners dedicated to combating online child sexual abuse. As the only U.S. agency on the VGT, ICE represents the United States' efforts at combatting child exploitation.
We are honored to accept this opportunity and look forward to expanding joint international operations to combat child exploitation. We will work to increase the level of participation by other nations, as well as non-governmental entities and private sector partners.
I'm confident in our ability to raise the bar in international cooperation in targeting child exploitation and look forward to tackling this global problem with so many good people of other nations.
Last week, I had the privilege of meeting with Army Command Sgt. Maj. Frank Grippe at ICE headquarters in Washington, D.C. Sgt. Maj. Grippe is the U.S. Central Command's (CENTCOM's) senior enlisted leader. He visited ICE to express his appreciation, and that of CENTCOM, Marine Corps Gen. James N. Mattis, for our agency's efforts in hiring veterans.
ICE surpassed two of our veteran hiring goals in fiscal year 2012. Our target was to hire 30 percent of new employees from the population of veterans. Among the 30 percent, a little more than 8 percent were to be veterans with disabilities.
We exceeded these goals. Close to 50 percent of ICE's new hires were veterans, and more than 18 percent of that number were disabled veterans.
Some of the most important traits we seek in new recruits at ICE are courage, discipline and dedication to selfless service. Men and women who have served our nation in the armed services exemplify these traits.
ICE has been an enthusiastic supporter of America's veterans. And as more of our men and women in uniform return from military duty and search for their place within the civilian workforce, ICE will continue to support our nation's veterans.
Today, I traveled to New Jersey and visited with ICE employees throughout the state, while Deputy Director Ragsdale conducted a similar visit in New York City.
I am truly impressed by the work our employees have done, and continue to do, to support the recovery efforts from Hurricane Sandy. ICE employees demonstrated resiliency by not only supporting our own employees impacted by the storm, but by providing law enforcement support to the federal, state and local first responders directly engaged in assisting the millions of people who needed help.
While in New Jersey, I toured Long Branch, N.J., where I met with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and the state's National Guard Adjutant General, Brig. Gen. Michael Cunniff. I also toured the devastated area of Union Beach, N.J. Finally, I visited the HSI mobile command post in Hazlet, N.J, and met with ICE employees. We also have HSI employees who continue to support New Jersey State Police, along with those who provided assistance for search and rescue teams in the region. I also met with officers from Enforcement and Removal Operations who assisted ICE's New Jersey and New York offices with tactical communication support. Deputy Director Ragsdale also visited our offices in New York, including HSI's John F. Kennedy International Airport location, which has served as a staging area for our coordinated response.
I want to thank our employees with HSI Atlanta, HSI Boston, HSI Newark and HSI Tampa's Rapid Response Teams – in addition to other teams which were on standby – who deployed to support the federal response to the hurricane. They not only assisted our partners, but also ensured our employees and their families were safe. All of our Rapid Response Teams share the same mission – to rapidly deploy during natural and manmade disasters, as well as emergency situations, to assist others in need.
Last, I would like to thank our colleagues who are now working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as part of the Surge Capacity Force. They will be providing assistance during the recovery efforts that continue in the New York metropolitan area.
As the recovery efforts continue to make progress, there is still much to be done. Some of our offices are still without power; we have colleagues who have been displaced from their homes due to severe flooding. Please continue to assist our colleagues, as we make sure they are receiving the full support of our entire agency.
While this has been a trying time for many, I am thankful that our employees are safe, and appreciate the efforts that we have undertaken to assist citizens in need.
Today, I participated in a signing ceremony to officially welcome JBS USA Holdings Inc. as an ICE Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers partner. This program, commonly known as the IMAGE Program, is designed to recognize businesses who work with ICE and who use our best hiring practices to ensure they are employing people who are legally authorized to work in this country. It is part of ICE's worksite enforcement strategy that promotes national security, protects critical infrastructure and ensures fair labor standards.
JBS is one of the largest meat processing companies in the United States. They have invested a significant amount of time into doing the right thing, and we recognized that effort during today's signing at ICE's headquarters in Washington, D.C. Upon certification, JBS will join an elite group of 169 other IMAGE members.
The public can and should choose to reward companies like JBS who follow the law and employ a legal workforce. And businesses should understand that the integrity of their hiring records and the legality of their workforce are of paramount importance to the federal government and to the safety and security of our nation.
Last week, nearly 120 foreign, federal, state and local law enforcement, as well as domestic and foreign industry partners attended the ICE-led National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center) third annual symposium.
As I look back over the course of the past three years, we have done so much to change the face of IP (intellectual property) enforcement. The pace of criminal investigations during this time has significant increased. In fiscal year 2009, HSI opened 730 IP investigations compared to the 1,212 IP investigations opened in fiscal year 2011. This is an astounding 94 percent increase. During this same timeframe, 625 individuals charged by HSI have been convicted of IP crimes. This is the highest in ICE's history.
I don't think there has been a greater focus on criminal IP theft enforcement in recent memory. However, law enforcement is not the sole answer to solving counterfeits, piracy and illegal diversions. As Americans, it's our responsibility to do our part combat IP theft. This is not a victimless crime. It steals jobs, weakens the economy, potentially jeopardizes military operations and poses public safety risks. When the majority of people recognize IP theft for what it is – a disservice and a danger to themselves, their family and the country, these IP criminal enterprises will fall like dominoes.
Today marks the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. As we pause, pay reverence and reflect on the thousands that lost their lives that day, those of us here at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) extend our condolences to families who lost loved ones. Every day, we work tirelessly to make our nation safer and more secure and want you to know that we're thinking of you.
Sept. 11 changed the landscape of the federal government and resulted in the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, and subsequently, ICE. Here at ICE headquarters, we created an ICE gallery, which not only highlights the work of our agency but also shows how we were formed. 9/11 is the reason we exist today, and we built a memorial in the ICE Gallery as a standing tribute to the nearly 3,000 people who lost their lives, the countless family members left behind, the staggering number of first responders who selflessly rushed to help, and the role our legacy agencies – U.S. Customs and Immigration and Naturalization Service – played in the recovery effort.
A grim tale began to unfold in November 2010, when our Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents and Massachusetts State Police detectives arrested Robert Diduca in Boston, Mass., on child pornography production charges. He was sentenced to 18 years in prison earlier this summer. A forensic analysis of his computer led us to a Dutch national who was arrested and charged with production, distribution and possession of child pornography, as well as the sexual assault of 87 minors. From there, further investigation revealed a network of sexual offenders that spanned the globe. To date, more than 140 children have been rescued and 42 perpetrators have been arrested – 12 in the United States and 30 in foreign countries.
Two special agents with HSI Boston led this investigation with significant cooperation from our attaché offices and law enforcement partners around the world. Special Agents Greg Squire and Pete Manning, now working with Special Agent Andy Kelleher, have gone above and beyond to ensure that the child predators are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. The children abused in this case were often infants and very young children – the youngest was 19 days old. It is a wrong among wrongs, and one we must combat with the full force of the law. We are literally defending the defenseless.
Unfortunately, this case isn't over. Each new predator we put behind bars leads us to yet another person attempting to exploit children. The message I have for them is a simple one. You are not safe. It may take us time and effort, you may be able to hide for a bit, but together with our law enforcement partners, we will investigate you, prosecute you and put you in jail. The border is no barrier. Your computer is no refuge.
Putting victims first plays a major part in successful human trafficking investigations. That's why U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) ensures that its field offices have victim witness coordinators available to work with victims. The coordinators ensure the victims' welfare is a top priority.
Representatives from the Singapore Police Force's Trafficking in Person Unit recently traveled to Baltimore to see firsthand how HSI approaches these investigations. They toured a processing center, holding cells and interview rooms, and they received an overview of the intake process. They also visited the Baltimore Child Abuse Center – a safe and comfortable location – where special agents often interview victims. The visit provided our counterparts in Singapore an appreciation of the crucial role that victims play in putting traffickers behind bars.
Last week, I participated in a cultural repatriation ceremony held at the Peruvian Embassy in Washington, D.C. Four pre-Columbian artifacts, nine colonial-era paintings and an 18th century monstrance were returned to the country of Peru and will eventually be given back to their rightful owners. This ceremony was the result of tremendous efforts by U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Interpol and the U.S. attorney's offices from the District of Delaware, the Southern District of New York and the Southern District of Texas.
Unfortunately, thieves steal precious items like these and attempt to smuggle them into the United States far too frequently. HSI works diligently to track down stolen property smuggled into the United States and interacts closely with experts to ensure each item's authenticity. Since 2007, HSI has repatriated more than 2,400 items, including a Buddha statue to China and an Edgar Degas painting to France.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) takes combatting transnational gangs very seriously. Last year law enforcement officers from France's Gendarmerie Nationale visited with our National Gang Unit, and just a few months ago, program managers from our National Gang Unit also met with Royal Bahamas Police Force officials and are helping them develop a tailored training program for their specific needs.
Transnational gangs are a growing problem across the globe, and our law enforcement partners look to us for guidance, knowledge and techniques. We're the only agency that has unique dual federal authorities, both criminal and administrative. Those authorities effectively position HSI to investigate a broad range of crimes ranging from human trafficking and drug smuggling to money laundering and identity theft. HSI and its partners have arrested more than 26,200 gang members and associates, representing more than 2,200 different gangs and cliques. We want to help our international law enforcement partners have similar successes.
ICE just wrapped up one of its most successful child predator operations to date. Operation Orion was a month-long, nationwide operation that targeted individuals who possessed, received, transported, distributed, advertised or produced images or videos of child pornography. It netted 190 arrests, 89 indictments and prison sentences for 58 people. It also led to the rescue and identification of 18 victims.
To prevent additional children from becoming victims of child exploitation, we launched a resource page on our website. If you're a parent or educator, I encourage you to stop by and visit www.ICE.gov/protectkids. You'll find a variety of information there, covering topics from social networking to cyberbullying, from our partners at the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. Take a few moments to share this information with the children in your life. The more they know, the better equipped they'll be to protect themselves from child predators.
This week, I participated in our annual Police Week ceremony honoring ICE's fallen heroes. These individuals gave their lives serving our agency and their country and I consider this to be the most significant event on my calendar. It provides an opportunity for all of us at the agency to join together with our law enforcement colleagues in recognition of the departed and reconnect with their families.
The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund reports that, on average, one law enforcement officer is killed in the line of duty somewhere in the United States every 53 hours. In 2011, 173 brave men and women were killed in the line of duty.
We will never forget the service of all the heroes on our ICE Wall of Honor at our Washington, D.C., headquarters. This wall memorializes officers and agents who lost their lives while on duty at ICE and our legacy agencies — the U.S. Customs Service and U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service. In heeding the call to serve in law enforcement, these individuals willingly risked their lives for a peaceful and orderly society.
We owe a debt of gratitude to all our special agents and officers – the living and deceased, those who died in the line of duty, and those who died from natural causes, accidents or other circumstances. They served proudly and honorably. They inspire us to strive to the highest ideals of our profession. And while they are no longer physically with us, we can and will continue to give thanks for the sacrifices they made on our behalf.
I also want to express my appreciation to all of the unsung heroes at ICE who carry on our daily work, upholding public safety and protecting national security. Thank you.
On the eve of Super Bowl XLVI, ICE has already scored a victory. Through Operation Fake Sweep, a nationwide enforcement operation targeting stores, flea markets and street vendors selling counterfeit game-related sportswear, we seized more than 42,692 NFL trademarked items with a record-breaking value of $4.86 million — up from $3.72 million last year.
In addition we seized the domain names of 291 illegal Internet websites selling counterfeit NFL merchandise largely made overseas and 16 websites engaged in illegal streaming of live sporting events and pay-per-view events over the Internet, including the Super Bowl. This is the largest number of websites we have ever seized in a single operation.
Intellectual property (IP) thieves undermine the U.S. economy and jeopardize public safety. American jobs are being lost, American innovation is being diluted and organized criminal enterprises are profiting from their increasing involvement in IP theft.
Discerning consumers should know that counterfeiters are more pervasive and more sophisticated than ever before. The fake merchandise and the bogus websites look authentic. The prices are discounted, yet not ridiculously low. So even a savvy consumer might not realize he or she is being duped. These are new tricks of the counterfeiting trade.
In sports, players must abide by rules of the game, and in life, individuals must follow the laws of the land. Our message is simple: abiding by intellectual property rights laws is not optional; it's the law.
Human trafficking victims are often hidden in plain sight. That was the case in northern Virginia in 2009 when Jose Ciro Juarez-Santamaria, an El Salvadoran national and MS-13 gang member, forced a 12-year-old girl — a runaway — into a life of prostitution. This past October, thanks in large part to the work of our Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents, Juarez-Santamaria was sentenced to life in prison for child sex trafficking.
Sadly, scenarios like this one play out across the country every day. Through the work of Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) HSI agents, DHS works hard to prevent and combat human trafficking. Last fiscal year, ICE initiated a significant number of human trafficking investigations, which resulted in more than 900 arrests, 400 indictments and 270 convictions.
You can help us combat human trafficking and continue to put traffickers like Juarez-Santamaria behind bars. I urge you to keep your eyes and ears open to report suspicious activity and help us crack down on these horrific crimes.
At ICE, we not only investigate cases of human trafficking, but we also provide services and support to trafficking victims. ICE has full-time victim assistance coordinators at nearly 70 percent of its HSI field offices. We also have 350 collateral-duty coordinators who provide counseling and crisis intervention services when necessary.
President Obama declared January as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. Please join ICE and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in the fight against this heinous crime. If you suspect human trafficking, I encourage you to call 866-DHS-2-ICE or complete our online tip form. We can't combat human trafficking without your assistance.
Last year, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) launched a national outreach campaign to educate departments of motor vehicles (DMVs) about document and benefit fraud. By partnering with DMVs, the agency could more effectively investigate the criminal networks behind such fraud, a crime that poses a significant threat to our national security.
Just this week, ICE HSI conducted a two-hour presentation at the Ohio Department of Transportation's headquarters in Columbus, Ohio. More than 400 representatives from all of Ohio's 196 Bureau of Motor Vehicles locations attended.
The presentation included ways to identify, detect and deter fraud at department of motor vehicles facilities. It also showcased ICE's proactive efforts to investigate and identify fraud schemes, including current trends by criminal networks.
Take a moment to view our video about document and benefit fraud.
I often check our agency's Facebook page to learn what the public has to say about U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). From time to time, I encounter posts that question why ICE is involved in child predator or money laundering investigations. The answer is simple. Investigating those crimes is part of the ICE mission.
The agency is comprised of two directorates – Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). ERO focuses on immigration enforcement, while HSI focuses on criminal investigations.
Those criminal investigations take our agents all across the world. They investigate cybercrime, stolen cultural antiquities, drug trafficking, human smuggling and more. These investigations protect our communities and keep us safe.
We all remember where we were, who we were with and what we were doing on Sept. 11, 2001. As we commemorate the tenth anniversary of the most horrific terrorist attacks in American history, I encourage you to take a moment to reflect on the thousands that lost their lives that day. Those of us here at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) extend our condolences to families that lost loved ones. We work tirelessly to make our nation safer and more secure and want you to know that we're thinking of you.
It's that time of year – hurricane season. ICE urges citizens on the Eastern seaboard to stay safe as Hurricane Irene approaches. FEMA, our sister agency here at the Department of Homeland Security, has several online resources to help you prepare for weather emergencies. I encourage you to visit Ready.gov, FEMA's blog and FEMA's Facebook page for up-to-date information. Or follow FEMA on Twitter @FEMA or @ReadydotGov for the latest Hurricane Irene details.
Most of all, stay safe. Make sure you have necessities to weather the storm and follow directions provided by your local officials.
Today, the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Center launched its own website, www.IPRcenter.gov, to help educate the public about why it's important to preserve intellectual property.
Protecting IPR is a topic U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) takes very seriously. Our agents investigate companies and individuals that sell counterfeit drugs, copyrighted movies and music, and fake goods. The theft of intellectual property can have serious implications that can range from sickness and death to job losses and lost tax revenue.
The National IPR Coordination Center, hosted by ICE, brings together the expertise of 17 federal agencies, as well as agencies from Mexico and Canada to fight intellectual property theft. On the center's new website, www.IPRcenter.gov, individuals can report instances of intellectual property theft, keep abreast of the latest news, peruse reports and view videos.
Stop by and take a look, www.IPRcenter.gov.
Last week, Secretary Napolitano released a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report highlighting the significant progress that DHS has made in fulfilling specific recommendations by the 9/11 Commission.
This year marks the 10-year anniversary of the most horrific terrorist attack in U.S. history – 9/11. While the memories of that day are still sobering, I'm proud to say that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has played an integral role in making the world a safer place by bolstering the security of our borders and maintaining the integrity of our identification documents.
Here are a few ICE initiatives that are helping to improve secure identification:
These examples just touch the surface on how ICE has effectively responded to recommendations put forth in the 9/11 Commission Report. While threats continually evolve, we must continue to do our part to ensure a stronger, more secure nation.
Last week, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) unveiled its Illicit Pathways Attack Strategy (IPAS), which was designed to support the President's initiative targeting transnational organized crime.
The strategy will help ICE:
The IPAS will be rolled out in several phases. The first phase will focus on combatting human smuggling and trafficking. Subsequent phases will focus on weapons trafficking, intellectual property theft, cybercrime, money laundering and counter-proliferation.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) takes the removal of human rights violators and war criminals very seriously. We will not allow our country to serve as a safe haven for these individuals.
Just this week, ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) officers deported a former member of the Guatemalan army who allegedly participated in a massacre that claimed the lives of at least 162 people. Some victims were bludgeoned with sledgehammers and their bodies thrown into the village's well. Others were shot or strangled, and many women were raped.
ICE's Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Center played an integral role in removing this individual from the United States. This ICE center was established in 2009 and leverages the expertise of special agents, lawyers, intelligence specialists and analysts. If you have information about foreign nationals suspected of engaging in human rights abuses or war crimes, call the ICE Tip Line at 866-DHS-2-ICE. Callers may report tips anonymously.
This morning I joined District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier and John Walsh, host of "America's Most Wanted," at a press conference to announce developments in the cold case investigation into the death of Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) attorney Joyce Chiang. Joyce disappeared from Dupont Circle in 1999 and her body was later found in the Potomac River. This morning, Chief Lanier announced that upon further investigation detectives had officially ruled Joyce's death as a homicide.
Joyce was deeply loved at our legacy agency INS, and her unsolved death has haunted us these 12 years. Today's announcement puts to rest any questions surrounding her tragic death. I commend the work of Chief Lanier and the Metropolitan Police Department in bringing this case to a close. I know I speak for all of us at ICE when I say we deeply appreciate their tireless efforts to resolve this matter.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) launched its Online Detainee Locator System (ODLS) less than a year ago. In that time, users have made more than 1.5 million queries to locate individuals in ICE custody.
It's easy to use. Simply visit ODLS on ICE.gov. There are two search options. You can either enter the detainee's alien number and his/her country of birth or the detainee's biographical information (first name, last name, country of birth and date of birth). You'll be directed to a new page that highlights where the individual is being detained. If you are unable to locate a detainee, please contact your local field office for assistance.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) relies on tips from the public to bring down human trafficking organizations, drug smuggling rings and an array of other criminal networks. Previously, our tip line was only accessible from within the United States. I'm proud to announce that ICE has recently expanded this service to Mexico. Individuals in Mexico can report information to the HSI Tip Line by dialing 001-866-347-2423.
For some, visiting 168 cities in 90 days may seem like an adventurous, cross country vacation. However, for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), those figures equate to the largest ICE-led gang enforcement operation in history – Project Southern Tempest. From December 2010 to February 2011, ICE arrested 678 gang members from 133 different gangs. Many were affiliated with drug trafficking organizations.
This operation also marked another significant milestone for the agency. ICE arrested its 20,000th gang member in Salt Lake City since the anti-gang program was introduced in 2005.
Here's a snapshot of the 678 individuals arrested:
ICE works tirelessly to rid our streets of violent transnational gangs. For more information about our efforts, visit our Operation Community Shield/Transnational Gangs Web page.
Less than two years ago, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) embarked on an unprecedented partnership in Arizona with other federal, state, local and tribal agencies, as well as the Mexican government. They joined forces to form the Alliance to Combat Transnational Threats (ACTT). ACTT combats the illicit flow of guns, money, drugs and criminals in both directions across the Southwest border. The results speak volumes.
Since its inception, ACTT has resulted in:
As ICE Special Agent in Charge Matt Allen shared this week at a news conference, "ICE is proud to participate in this unprecedented effort to secure the Arizona-Sonora corridor and bring a smart and effective approach to border security."
Each year undocumented workers use fraudulent means to obtain employment. ICE's IMAGE (ICE Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers) Program strives to reduce unauthorized employment and the use of fraudulent identity documents by educating employers on proper hiring procedures.
Just last week, IMAGE welcomed one of the country's most well-known companies Tyson Foods, as one its newest members.
If you own a company or are responsible for hiring new employees, we invite you to attend our upcoming IMAGE training workshop: Fostering Compliance through Education and Partnership. You will learn how to implement IMAGE best practices, establish an immigration compliance program, develop proper hiring procedures, detect fraudulent documents and use E-verify to ensure that your employees are eligible for employment in the U.S.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is the largest investigative agency in the Department of Homeland Security. Our Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents fight crime at the border, overseas and most recently, online. With the exponential growth of the Internet, ICE agents spend more time in virtual realm tracking down child predators, investigating fraudulent activities and cracking down on the sale of counterfeit goods and pirated content.
Yesterday, I helped kick off the "State of the Net" Conference in Washington, DC. There, I shared information about ICE's ever-expanding role in law enforcement due to the World Wide Web.
President Obama has declared January as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Awareness Month. Each year, thousands of individuals become victims of human trafficking. Some come to the United States with the promise of a better life but end up as modern day slaves. Others are coerced into lives of prostitution. Either way, the victims are often voiceless and scared.
ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents are serious about ending human trafficking. Each day, our agents investigate the most heinous of crimes – ones where people are treated as commodities instead of human beings.
I urge you to keep your eyes and ears open to suspicious activity. Victims of human trafficking are often hidden in plain sight. If you have information to report, call ICE's Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE.
Counterfeit items pose threats to our health and safety. Imagine purchasing baby formula for your little one, but instead of providing vitamins and nutrients, the formula contains harmful contaminants. How would you feel if you purchased a string of Christmas lights, but due to lack of quality control, you find your home ablaze?
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) doesn't want you to be a casualty of fake goods. That's why we are so heavily involved in intellectual property rights (IPR) enforcement. Earlier this month, ICE participated in a news conference at the White House where we reiterated our commitment to protecting IPR.
Take a moment to view my remarks from the White House event.
Methamphetamine destroys lives. During the past few weeks, ICE saved the lives of hundreds, maybe thousands of people, by removing 55 pounds of it from the streets.
ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents uncovered a multi-state drug operation with alleged ties to "La Familia" Mexican drug cartel. The operation purportedly distributed methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana in several Eastern states and the District of Columbia.
ICE works tirelessly to infiltrate the organizations behind dangerous drugs. Today, I'm proud to say that we cut off another pipeline for narcotics trafficking. Learn more about our narcotics enforcement efforts.
When you log on to a website that claims to sell "real and genuine" handbags and shoes, you trust that your purchases are indeed real and genuine. Unfortunately, there's no way to ensure that the products are authentic. That's why U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) dedicates resources to protecting intellectual property rights (IPR).
Just in time for Cyber Monday, ICE seized 82 websites that sold counterfeit goods and copyrighted works. Many of these sites claimed to be affiliated with name brands like Coach, Louis Vuitton and Timberland. However, in reality, there was nothing real or genuine about any of them. Today, the sites bear a banner that states, "This domain name has been seized by ICE – Homeland Security Investigations…"
The question I receive time and time again is, "Why should we care?" Here's why. Counterfeiting and copyright theft hurts America—our workers, our businesses, the safety of our people. Fake websites, false advertising and illegal foreign factories take money away from legitimate businesses. These companies don't pay federal and state taxes. They don't provide pensions and healthcare. They don't invest in new products. Instead, they make money stealing other people's work and innovation without any care for the consequences.
Sample screen shots of seized websites.
Here at ICE, we are tasked with enforcing immigration policies. But the reality is, we have a limited number of Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) officers compared to the millions of individuals here illegally in the United States. That's why ICE, under the Obama administration, has made a shift in its removal strategy. Removing illegal aliens with criminal convictions is our top priority.
A week ago, we conducted Operation RAPID in and around New York City. We apprehended 54 previously deported aliens with criminal convictions. The Operation served as the largest of its kind. These individuals had already been deported once for various reasons and had snuck back into our country. They posed threats to public safety sexual predators, robbers and thieves.
As I said last week, ICE continues to target, arrest and remove individuals that come to this county to pursue a life of crime rather than the American Dream. That's tough, sensible immigration enforcement.
ICE's full name—U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement—only touches the surface of what our agents and officers do on a daily basis. Earlier this week, our Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents helped take down a sex trafficking ring. Four girls – some younger than 14 years old – were forced to prostitute themselves by a Somali-run Human Trafficking Organization. More than 20 individuals were arrested for their involvement in the trafficking ring.
ICE relies on tips from the public to dismantle these organizations. I encourage you to keep your eyes and ears open to suspicious activity. Trafficking victims are often hidden in plain sight, voiceless and scared.
If you notice suspicious activity in your community, call ICE's Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE.
In addition to its duties related to homeland security, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is responsible for enforcing the nation's immigration laws. Quite often, details about that mission can be misconstrued. That's why I wanted to share with you a new addition to our website – Fact vs. Fiction. This new feature addresses distortions about ICE's policies and programs.
Here's a sample of what you'll find on our Fact vs. Fiction page.
Fiction: ICE is pro-amnesty.
FACT: ICE does not engage in a "backdoor" amnesty. For two years running, ICE has removed more aliens than it did under the prior Administration. In addition, ICE has removed more criminal convicts than ever before—rendering ICE's enforcement profoundly relevant to public safety. The agency also celebrated record-breaking enforcement against employers who violate the law. In fiscal year 2010, ICE arrested an unprecedented number of employers for illegal hiring and audited the records of more employers than ever before. Through programs like Secure Communities, ICE identifies criminal aliens when they enter law enforcement custody. This prevents removable criminal aliens from returning to our communities.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has gone Hollywood. Well, sort of. The National Geographic Channel's new program, "Border Wars," highlights ICE and our partner agencies at the Department of Homeland Security. This season, cameras follow agents from our Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and officers from our Office of Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) as they tackle fugitive operations and gangs. Beyond what you'll see on TV, our agents stay extremely busy investigating cases ranging from human smuggling to cybercrime – all in the name of protecting national security.
Make sure to tune in or set your TiVo/DVR! The new season of "Border Wars" should not be missed!
This month, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) celebrated a momentous occasion. We launched our new website!
I encourage you to stop by and take a look at newly redesigned ICE.gov. Directly on the homepage, you can access the latest news, photos and videos. It's been our experience that the Web is a great way to tell ICE-related stories. The revamped ICE.gov allows us to do just that in a compelling, accessible and informative manner.
The new site focuses on our two main program areas – Homeland Security Investigations and Enforcement and Removal Operations. By clicking on "Investigations" or "Enforcement and Removal" from the homepage, visitors can find information about all of ICE's programs.
ICE.gov also features tools that the public can use.
Best of all, ICE has integrated several Web 2.0 functions into the site. Visitors can share our stories on their Facebook pages, bookmark us through de.li.cious, follow us on Twitter or view short videos about our latest investigations on YouTube.
Next time you have a moment, visit ICE.gov. We're just a click away.