Watchdog analyse DHS for alleged misconduct by immigration officers at airports

The Office of Inspector General confirmed to Congress that it is reviewing the botched implementation of Trumps executive order that imposed a travel ban

The official watchdog of the Department of Homeland Security is analyse alleged misconduct by immigration officers at US airports as a result of Donald Trumps stalled travel forbidding on people from majority-Muslim countries.

The Office of Inspector General( OIG ), the body vested with analyse alleged abuses within the DHS, has confirmed to Congress that it is carrying out an internal review of the botched implementation of Trumps executive order that imposed a travel prohibit on the predominantly Muslim populations of several nations. The banning was introduced twice, and on both occasions halted at the order of federal judges.

In a letter to Yvette Clarke, a member of Congress from New York, the DHS inspector general, John Roth, confirmed that the OIG had initiated an investigation into the implementation of Trumps travel forbid and any abuses that might have passed by Customs and Border Protection officers. In addition to reviewing its implementation, we will review DHSs adherence to court orders and allegations of individual misconduct on the part of DHS personnels, including CBP agents, he said.

The first executive order released by Trump in late January under the title Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States elicited widespread chaos and embarrassment at many US airports such as New Yorks JFK and LAX in Los Angeles. It barred entry for people from seven largely Muslim countries, later reduced to six with the second rewritten iteration of the ban.

Civil rights groups complained that CBP agents at JFK and Dulles airport in Virginia eluded the restraining order imposed by a federal court by continuing to imprison people even after the judge had demanded that the travel forbidding be halted. While the ban continues to be on hold through the action of members of the judiciary, there are ongoing reports of too aggressive treatment of visitors by CBP agents at airports, such as the recent detention at JFK of a former police chief from North Carolina.

In late February, almost 40 members of Congress wrote to the secretary of homeland security, John Kelly, protesting that the ongoing block on the travel forbid was not being communicated properly to CBP agents on the ground at US borders.

Many immigrants who had been exhaustively vetted and cleared by a variety of federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies were detained for extended periods of day, denied access to legal counsel and in some cases forced to abandon their lawful status and return to their respective countries of origin.

Clarke told the Guardian that she was particularly concerned about detention of visitors at US airports, and about the impact of Trumps executive orders designed to deport millions of undocumented immigrants. Many of the families I represent in Brooklyn are threatened by Donald Trumps executive orders on immigration and are concerned that a knock on the door in the middle of the night could result in forced separation from their children, Clarke said.

She added: We require the Department of Homeland Security to investigate all allegations that Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents might have abused the constitutional rights of anyone detained and, if problems are detected, to implement rewrote procedures immediately.

Clarke introduced a House bill earlier this month that would require Immigration and Customs Enforcement( Ice) agents to wear body cameras during immigration raids that have proliferated under the Trump administration.

Lee Gelernt, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union who has been at the vanguard of legal challenges to Trumps immigration crackdown, said he had very significant very concerned about the route the administration is enforcing the immigration laws. We find civil rights violations when the first Muslim ban was publish, and there have been other significant violations unrelated to the travel ban.

Among the regions that the ACLU is maintaining a close eye on are arrests of so-called Dreamers, young undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children to whom President Obama afforded legal protection under the Daca program that has nominally been left in place by Trump. The ACLU has also expressed concern about Ice grabbing people in sensitive places such as schools, hospitals and places of adore that had been considered out of bounds.

Confirmation of the DHS watchdogs investigation of alleged misconduct by CBP officers marks a stepping-up of the internal ructions within the Trump administration over the presidents highly contentious immigration schemes. In February the Intercept reported that the OIG was carrying out an investigation of the implementation of the travel banning, but that it did not go so far as to cover the individual behavior of federal officers.

Roths letter also reveals that the civil right division within DHS, known as the Office of Civil Rights and Civil liberty( CRCL ), had also been looking into the impact of the travel ban. That investigation has now been put on hold until the OIG watchdog can complete its work.

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