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02/07/2012

ICE announces creation of Public Advocate position

WASHINGTON — As part of the agency's ongoing detention reform and other enforcement-related initiatives, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) today announced its first Public Advocate, ICE Senior Advisor Andrew Lorenzen-Strait. Lorenzen-Strait will serve as a point of contact for individuals, including those in immigration proceedings, non-governmental organizations and other community and advocacy groups, who have concerns, questions, recommendations or other issues they would like to raise.

"As our first Public Advocate, Andrew Lorenzen-Strait will work to expand and enhance our dialogue with the stakeholder community," said ICE Director John Morton. "We want the public to know that they have a representative at this agency whose sole duty is to ensure their voice is heard and their interests are recognized, and I'm confident Andrew will serve the community well in this capacity."

Lorenzen-Strait has served with ICE since 2008, first as an advisor and analyst on policies related to immigration enforcement, detention and juveniles and most recently, as the senior advisor for Enforcement and Removal Operation's (ERO) detention management division. In 2007, Lorenzen-Strait was named the Maryland Attorney of the Year for providing pro bono services to Community Legal Services of Prince George's County.

In his new role as Public Advocate, Lorenzen-Strait will report directly to ERO Director Gary Mead and will be responsible for:

  • Assisting individuals and community stakeholders in addressing and resolving complaints and concerns in accordance with agency policies and operations, particularly concerns related to ICE enforcement actions involving U.S. citizens;
  • Informing stakeholders on ERO policies, programs and initiatives, and enhance understanding of ERO's mission and core values;
  • Engaging stakeholders and building partnerships to facilitate communication, foster collaboration and solicit input on immigration enforcement initiatives and operations; and
  • Advising ICE leadership on stakeholder findings, concerns, recommendations and priorities as they relate to improving immigration enforcement efforts and activities.

The creation of the Public Advocate position is another milestone is ICE's ongoing work to enact significant policy changes and improvements to focus the agency's immigration enforcement resources on sensible priorities that promote public safety, border security and the integrity of the immigration system. In addition to implementing policies and processes that ensure discretion is used in deciding the types of individuals ICE prioritizes for removal from the country, the agency has also embarked upon a long-term detention reform initiative. These reform efforts are focused on prioritizing the health and safety of detainees in our custody while increasing federal oversight and improving the conditions of confinement within the detention system.

ICE will continue to analyze its policies and the results of its programs, making improvements where necessary to meet our priorities.