July 5, 2008

Arlene Violet on the Immigration Verification Policy of the PPD

Monique Chartier

This awful crime brought into focus the technologically retarded procedure whereby the Providence police check the immigration status of people who come into their official custody. We should note here that it was the Mayor of Providence, not the police department, who arranged and ordered this procedure.

Arlene Violet did some research and determined exactly how and why this procedure is so infeasible. [Courtesy the Valley Breeze.]

The local ICE (Immigration and Control Enforcement) office has been gutted by a reduction of personnel. In response, the ICE passed out equipment to large police departments. This computer responds to a typed in name by alerting officials that the person is not in the country legally since there is no record of him. What happens if a person "borrows" the name of somebody who is here legally? Well, a picture pops up of the legal immigrant. The police officer than can compare the suspect to the picture and determine if the use of the name and address is purloined.

The Providence police did not use the equipment where it takes less than a minute to check the status. Instead, the department sends over a weekly list of all arrests for the staff-starved ICE to check. It already knows that the officers there don't have the manpower to check the list since that was the reason why the Providence Police got the database equipment. In fact, sending an entire list masks the one or two who should have been checked.

The sad reality is that the Mayor of Providence panders to the immigrant community. He thinks he can protect his posterior by claiming that they sent the list. The excuse doesn't work. ...

Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.

I'll be interested to see how/when somebody figures out how to sue Yesserman and the Princess of Providence since it is their DIRECT inaction that led to this woman getting raped at knifepoint.

Posted by: Greg at July 5, 2008 4:25 PM

Arlene,who I met while she was AG started me as a talk radio guest on Columbus Day 2001.i was on for 2 hours answering call in questions and giving background info on immigration.
Arlene has good knowledge of the subject.Jerzyk has called her among other things,an anti-immigrant activist,which should pretty much tell you she must be doing something right.Getting on Jerzyk's sh*tlist doesn't speak badly for anyone.
I sincerely hope that disgusting creep Esserman goes down over this.

Posted by: joe bernstein at July 5, 2008 4:43 PM

--I sincerely hope that disgusting creep Esserman goes down over this."

Pun intended? ;-)

Posted by: Ragin' Rhode Islander at July 5, 2008 5:10 PM

"sends over a weekly list of all arrests"


I was under the impression that it was done every morning, with a list of those arrested the previous evening.

Anyway, I would still like to know what the ICE personnel do with the list they get from Providence (whether daily or weekly . . .).

Posted by: brassband at July 5, 2008 7:52 PM

Brassband, from your prior comments, you seem to know something about legal matters. Plus, your comments are always thoughtful and measured.

Therefore, your comments on this procedure, here and in prior threads, are a little surprising, for the following reasons.

The list is faxed post arraignment. I am not an attorney but doesn't that often mean: after the person has walked out of court and out of custody?

Further, according to Chief Esserman in April:

>> Providence police don’t do any investigation on their own but simply fax to ICE a copy of their arraignment sheet, which shows the names of anyone who has been arraigned that day. <<

Anyone and everyone arraigned that day by the Providence police.

If you were the supervisor of an understaffed office, would you do anything with an unfiltered list that had been faxed to you somewhere between three hours (on the optimistic side) and seven days after arraignment?

Posted by: Monique at July 5, 2008 9:26 PM

Brassband-however you want to present your case about iCE sharing the blame,I don't buy it.ICE and before that INS had a routine presence at PPD-Cicilline and Esserman stopped that in order to suck up to a certain ethnic group considered essential to success in statewide political aspirations.
Prior to Cicilline very few persons in police custody subject to deportation proceedings slipped through the cracks.
What happened in the Marco Riz case was the result of a deliberate policy by the Mayor and Chief.
You've had a chip on your shoulder towards Federal law enforcement on this blog for a while now.I don't know why and really don't much care anymore,but I will challenge your assertions whenever you try to blame malfeasance by the city leadership on the incompetence of the feds.They have a hard job and they do it without regard for who has political power.The Federal hiring system is pretty much(not entirely)free of political influence at the rank and file level.
If it looks to me like ICE fouled up Posted by: joe bernstein at July 5, 2008 9:29 PM

I meant to finish by saying I would call ICE on it if it looked like they fouled up,but it doesn't look that way at all.

Posted by: joe bernstein at July 5, 2008 9:38 PM

I am not defending Col. Esserman's policy.

Can't someone please tell me what ICE does with the list they get from PPD?

If you were the supervisor of an understaffed office, would you do anything with an unfiltered list that had been faxed to you somewhere between three hours (on the optimistic side) and seven days after arraignment?

1. I would have the list copied and circulated to all of my agents/investigators on a regular basis (weekly, daily, etc.).

2. I would direct my folks to take a look at the list for any names that they recognize, and, for those charged with serious crimes, I would direct them to have computer checks run on them, and then follow up on those with "hits."

3. I would write to Col. Esserman and explain why the list that they are sending is inadequate to our needs and that it is imperative that PPD use the resources available to them to check on immigration status prior to arraignment whenever possible.

4. I would communicate with my supervisors at the regional or national level in DC to see if there was anything we could do (i.e., withhold or sanction DHS funds to the city) to force cooperation from the city.

5. I would try to get the highest ranking federal law enforcement official in RI -- U.S. Atty Robert Corrente -- to convene some sort of working group with A.G. Lynch, Col. Doherty, and the chiefs of the large urban areas (including Providence) to improve on our ability to get holds on these arrestees in a timely fashion.

6. I would have a comprehensive and complete paper trail to show all that I had done to improve the system on my watch.

7. Knowing that there will probably be a mess up somewhere along the way, I would have given some thought to what my agency would say in response to press inquiries, other than, "Don't blame me. Golly, we don't have time to read the lists that PPD sends over to us. Sorry about the sexual assault committed by someone for whom we had deportation papers, and who we should have removed from your community years ago . . . but it's really not my agency's job to catch illegal aliens . . . that's, um, Col. Esserman's job . . . yeah, that's the ticket!"

Has ICE taken any of these steps?

No one seems to be asking them any questions.

Posted by: brassband at July 6, 2008 6:53 AM

For years INS and ICE worked hand in glove with PPD.Do you actually read what's posted here?Esserman and Cicilline have gotten away with their sanctuary city scam and only now because of this outrage are being"brought to task".To quote that excuse for a police chief.I can't tell you what's been going on internally in ICE or between them and DHS or the US Attorney's office.What I AM saying is that it worked fine until Cicilline took office and now it doesn't-this situation has been repeated elsewhere in the country.San Francisco city officials are now under federal investigation for harboring criminal aliens.The bottom line is:if it isn't broken,don't fix it.Esserman got rid of an on-site immigration enforcement presence at PPD.I can't make it plainer than that.ICE agents work very hard to apprehend alien violators,particularly criminals-and when they do the left wing sh*t eating scumbags like Shana Kurland and Steven Brown call them "terrorists"and "Gestapo",and in Brown's case make unsupported allegations of causing a suicide.I did that job and dealt with the same pressures,Brass and I was never accused of being lazy-I'd like to see how you could do that job since you seem to know all the answers.Why don't you just identify yourself and let us know what you do and the basis for your expertise?I use my real name and it's easy enough to check up on whatever I write or say.

Posted by: joe bernstein at July 6, 2008 9:50 AM

Helen Glover/Radio Talk Show Host 920am, had on the ICE Director 2 weeks ago whom answered direct questions about some of these issues. I recalling the figures were 580,000 (yearly)Nationwide fugitive checks when police have a person they have detained. RI only put 2 in, and contrary to what Esserman claims in this interview from 6-18-08 Mike Gilhooly Director of Communications for the Northern Area of ICE joined Helen for more information on the Marco Riz case and I found the information to be the family of the girl to have a valid case against these bafoons. Grab you pen and write down Mike's number after you listen to this interview...if you still have questions. I realize this is talk radio, but I have been following this for quite sometime and it's blatent for the disregard to check people's status.


Posted by: Suzanne Arena at July 6, 2008 3:57 PM


I know you think that I have a prejudice against federal law enforcement, and I certainly admire your tenedency to defend your former colleagues in what is now ICE.

And as I have repeatedly said, I am no defender of Col. Esserman, but I do think it is fair to question how ICE did its job in connection with this defendant.

Take a look at how ICE describes its mission on its website:

The Office of Detention and Removal Operations (DRO) is responsible for promoting public safety and national security by making certain through the enforcement of U.S. immigration laws that all removable aliens depart the United States.

How We Work

DRO makes use of its resources and expertise to transport aliens, to manage them while in custody and waiting for their cases to be processed, and to remove unauthorized aliens from the United States when so ordered.

(emphasis mine)

As I understand the facts of this case -- and please correct me if I'm wrong -- this defendant was ordered deported years ago and yet he still remained in our community.

I think it's fair for ICE to explain what it has been doing over the years to apprehend him, leading up to the time when he committed this horrible offense, beginning in Warwick (where he was apparently working illegally) and culminating in Providence.

Over the years, he had contact with PPD and EPPD, and shame on those departments for not figuring out that he was wanted by ICE . . . but the primary responsibility for removing him from the country rested with ICE, not with local law enforcement.

Do you think that the public should let ICE off the hook?

I don't.

I think enforcement of the immigrations laws rests primarily with the feds, that this illegal immigrant was ordered removed before he is alleged to have committed a serious violent offense, and that he should have been long gone before EPPD or PPD ever arrested him.

If that counts as bias against federal law enforcement agents, so be it.

But don't you think ICE should answer these questions?

Posted by: brassband at July 6, 2008 9:55 PM

brassband, I agree it is worthwhile to ask whether ICE had done it's job. But in this case, the answer to the question appears to be a resounding "YES".

ICE established a procedure for running background checks and apparently went to the extent of handing out necessary equipment to local PD's for free.

It's not that ICE said (as you put it): "Don't blame me. Golly, we don't have time to read the lists that PPD sends over to us." It's more like ICE said "We'll make it as easy as possible for the PPD. Here's a quick and efficient way to run background checks, and we'll pay for it".

ICE does not have hundreds of enforcement officers working the streets streets in Providence to detect illegal aliens. The PPD does. The law enforcement system relies on local, state and federal agencies working together--something which PPD has apparently opted out of (with regards to illegal aliens).

The disturbing part about this case is not that it occurred through a random "mistake" by the PPD. The disturbing part is that it occurred directly as the result of the PPD following Cicilline/Esserman's established policies and could very well be repeated.

Posted by: Anthony at July 7, 2008 8:45 AM
"ICE established a procedure for running background checks and apparently went to the extent of handing out necessary equipment to local PD's for free."

Forgive me, but didn't ICE hold deportation paper on this defendant before he was arrested by EPPD and PPD?

Does ICE satisfy its obligations with regard to a deportation order by saying, "We know we're supposed to track this guy down and remove him from the country . . . but he'll probably commit an offense somewhere along the way and be arrested by the locals. We'll give computer equipment to the locals so we can nab him after they arrest him for a new offense . . ."

I don't think so.

Let's be honest; law enforcement agencies at different levels often act more like rivals than members of the same team.

Did Providence mess up by changing its policy, apparently for political reasons?

So it would appear.

But shouldn't this guy have been out of the country before he even crossed the radar screens of EPPD or PPD?

Or is that not the mission of ICE?

Posted by: brassband at July 7, 2008 9:22 AM

Anthony-great post!!
Brass-Okay,to answer your question this issue hasn't seemed to come up with any other department in the state.So the problem is the unstated sanctuary policy of the PPD under Esserman,sio logic would indicate.
When I arrived in RI in 1984 from Chicago we had THREE agents for the whole state.cooperation with other agencies was essential and there was no computer method-it was all hands on.Additionally we were very proactive,combing through thousands of probation/parole records by hand with pen and paper to locate deprotable criminal aliens.We arrested them by the hundreds over a period of years,and due to high productivity were assigned more agents.I had a lot of years of hard work tied up in that process and that is why I am defensive.
I was assigned to fugitives for about 2 years give or take,in Chicago and I had an apprehension rate of +/- 85%.Included was one Predrag Stevic,a Yugoslav,a very hard to find fucitive.His arrest led eventually to the US Supreme Court case Stevic vs.INS,a 9-0(!!)decision which became the defining decision on political asylum until the laws were re-written.
I am not blowing my horn here,but responding specifically to broad generalizations you seem to be making about the work ethic of immigration agents.The ICE agents today are seeking HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of fugitives.If you're under 37 apply for a job there and find out first hand.

Posted by: joe bernstein at July 7, 2008 1:13 PM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?

Important note: The text "http:" cannot appear anywhere in your comment.