ICE holds HSI Cadet Program graduation
ICE holds HSI Cadet Program graduation

Four cadets walked across the stage Thursday evening at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) headquarters in Washington, D.C., officially graduating from the agency’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Cadet Program. Two cadets received top honors and were presented with the Edward J. Smith Award.

“This program bolsters the public understanding of HSI’s mission and one of its critical occupations while simultaneously improving our intra-agency collaborations and public-public partnerships,” said Program Manager Alisha Earle. “Maybe more importantly, this program touched the lives of the cadets and families in such a way that it offered the hope of opportunity for the students in the future, something they may not have been necessarily considering when undergoing treatment.”

HSI Cadet Program

The ceremony was the culmination of the sixth annual session of the program. This year’s group of five cadets, who came from Inova Children’s Hospital and MedStar Georgetown University, spent one week in July learning investigative techniques such as evidence collection and surveillance techniques, fingerprinting and other real-life law enforcement situations. Each student received a certificate of appreciation from ICE Acting Director Ronald Vitiello and HSI Acting Executive Associate Director (EAD) Derek Benner.

“Every one of us in the law enforcement community understands the value and importance of partnerships, and this program is succeeding because of great cadets, and strong partners,” said Acting EAD Benner. “Thanks to you, and the cadets who came before you, the success of the program here in Washington, D.C., is allowing us to expand it to other parts of the country.”

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This year’s schedule included educational trips to the Technical Operations Center in Lorton, Virginia; HSI Forensic Lab in McLean, Virginia; Intellectual Property Rights Center in Arlington, Virginia; and the Port of Baltimore, to learn more about various investigative techniques. Their week-long training culminated with a live Tactical Training exercise with the HSI DC Special Response Team.

"We truly enjoyed working with the cadets,” said HSI Special Agent Lamar Jackson, who served as the program’s lead instructor. “The program gives us a chance to bring smiles to their faces and make them feel like a part of the team."

The HSI Cadet Program began as a pilot program in 2013 in partnership with CBP and Medstar Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C. The objective was to support ICE’s efforts to raise awareness and educate teenagers and young adults with disabilities and/or chronic illnesses about the mission of ICE through a structured, hands-on educational program. The ICE Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports the contributions of more than 20,000 ICE employees and offices in the U.S. and around the world, sponsored the event, enabling the program to run at no cost to U.S. taxpayers.