Monday, June 17, 2013

Morton, U.S. ICE Director Resigns Effective End of July

John Morton and Moises Mory Lamas

Morton submitted his resignation to President Obama and will take private job position with Capital One in Virginia.

By H. Nelson Goodson
June 17, 2013

Washington, D.C. - On Monday, John Morton, the director for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced in an e-mail to his staff that he will resign by the end of July. Morton submitted his resignation to President Obama. Obama appointed Morton to head ICE in 2009. Morton will work in the private sector with Capital One in McLean, Virginia as head of the compliance office, according to Tatiana Stead, spokeswoman for Capital One.
Under Morton, more than 400,000 of undocumented immigrants were deported each year. Multiple federal lawsuits were filed against ICE for illegal actions by agents during raids and detentions. In April, 22 plaintiffs in the Adriana Aguilar v. ICE federal civil lawsuit case were awarded $1 million in damages and fees in a settlement agreement for illegal ICE raids and home intrusions between 2006 to 2007 that resulted with arrests of suspected undocumented immigrants in New York. 
ICE had to change its policy of entering homes or properties without permission when searching for undocumented immigrants. 
The lawsuit claimed, ICE's warrantless home raid practices have typically involved a dozen armed ICE agents surrounding a home in the pre-dawn hours, pounding on the doors, shining flashlights through windows, and demanding or forcing entry. Once a door was opened, the agents would push their way in, enter private bedrooms without consent, and drag or order terrified, just-awakened residents – often only partially dressed in nightclothes – into central areas. Agents claimed these practices constituted "consent to enter."
Now, they have to have a legal warrant instead of an administrative order or get permission to enter a home and property during raids.
Another recent lawsuit filed in federal court, ICE and Border Patrol agents are accused of coercion for forcing undocumented immigrants to sign voluntary departures without offering options or family and legal counsel advice.
In June, the ACLU in Southern California and Cooley LLC filed a federal suit Lopez-Venegas v. Napolitan in Los Angeles against ICE and U.S. Border Patrol claiming they have used coerced expulsions (administrative voluntary departure) to deport hundreds or thousands of undocumented immigrants during detention. The ICE officers in Southern California have "compel immigrants to involuntarily sign summary expulsion orders" by threatening them that they would be held for months or that their families in the U.S. would also be targeted for deportation. Most of those in question (deported) have lived in the U.S. for a decade or so. The ACLU reported that, immigration enforcement authorities in Southern California routinely use misinformation, deception and coercion to pressure undocumented immigrants, some of whom have lived in the U.S. for years to surrender their right to seek legal status.
In 2010, Morton failed to hold ICE officials accountable for any wrongdoing in deportation cases. One case in particular, Moises Mory Lamas, 55, had received a letter in November from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) at his residence in West New York informing him of an interview for November 16. Unfortunately,  Mory Lamas was deported despite an open pending case for residency. Ruth Mory a U.S. Citizen, his wife had petition for Mory Lamas residency in 2004, under the 1986 amnesty Northwest Immigration Projects. Mory Lamas was set to go for an Interview-Application Status as a Temperary Resident Under Section 245A (Form I-687).
On November 16, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) officials confirmed that ICE deportation officials erred in the removal of New Jersey resident Moises Mory Lamas, 55, who was deported months earlier in September. Mory Lamas was deported to Peru after more than a decade of challenging his removal due to a minor violation of a state law.
On September 9, despite his pending petition for amnesty and residency, ICE Deportation Officer Catherine Brantley decided to deport Mory Lamas to Peru. In brief, on August 12, three ICE agents took Peruvian citizen Mory Lamas to the Peru Consulate in Paterson, from an ICE office he was reporting as required, so temperary Consul Alejandro Beoutis Candahuana could approve his deportation. Mory Lamas alleged, Consul Beoutis told him he had to surrender his Peruvian passport to ICE, or face legal authorization for ICE to deport him anyway from the Peru government, if he wouldn't comply. Beoutis staff deny the allegations, but an official Peruvian Consulate Act (agreement for voluntary departure) signed by Beoutis and three ICE agents in Spanish confirms otherwise.
Mory Lamas said, that afterwards three ICE agents took him home and confiscated his Peruvian passport, as approved and mandated by Consul Beoutis. Peruvian Consul Beoutis, and three ICE agents were identified in the Act signatures as Juan Mezarina, Oscar Torres and James Laforge along with their official capacity under the names.
Mory Lamas had spend at least five years in immigration detention, until he was released in early 2009. Mory Lamas was convicted of possession of drugs, a minor state offense. He pleaded no-contest in 1986, and his lawyer did not advice Mory Lamas of the consequences and possible deportation. He served 6 months in jail and was fined $30.00 for the conviction.
He began his appeal in 1999, served one year in '99 and then served four years from 2004 and was finally released in January 2009. Since then, Mory Lamas was put on an electronic device, had to report to an ICE officer at least twice a week, until he finally was granted a work permit until 2011.
Mory Lamas had a pending habeas corpus appeal with federal Judge Dennis Cavanaugh in the district of Newark, before being deported. He has a 17-year-old daughter who is a U.S Citizen.
Ruth Mory, Moises' wife is a cancer survivor, suffers from diabetes and other ailments.

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