DHS-ICE Illegally Detaining U.S. Citizens

A troubling report on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow show says DHS-ICE is increasingly detaining U.S. Citizens, something it has absolutely no legal authority to do. According to host Joy Reid who was subbing for the vacationing Maddow, this stems from a legally questionable practice currently in place in many U.S. counties where DHS-ICE places “detainers” on county jail inmates it suspects are either not in the U.S. legally, or even if here legally, are subject to deportation proceedings based on their criminal convictions. The Maddow segment focused on Peter Brown, a Philadelphia native who DHS-ICE almost mistakenly deported to Jamaica. For the record DHS-ICE has no legal authority to detain a U.S. citizen so any ICE detainer placed on a U.S. citizen is void on its face.

The full Maddow segment is available here but the relevant clip is below.

So for example if someone is convicted in Harris County Texas for say DWI, and jailed for say 6 months at the county jail, one of the preliminary issues that is determined by county jail officials is whether the inmate is a U.S. citizen. If it is determined that the inmate is not a U.S. citizen then DHS-ICE places a “detainer” on them essentially telling the Harris County jail officials to detain the said inmate for an extra 48 hours(2 days) to allow DHS-ICE to come and pick them up for deportation proceedings.

The problem with this policy is that it is prone to a lot of racial and ethnic profiling by county jail officials who often arbitrarily classify inmates who don’t “look like” or “speak like” Americans as non-citizens and thereby illegally subjecting them to DHS-ICE detainers. This is especially problematic in immigrant-rich cities like Houston which is home to many naturalized U.S. citizens who don’t “look like” or “speak like” Americans.

According to the Maddow segment, DHS-ICE apparently enters into contracts with county officials where they pay them an agreed sum for every inmate the county detains for them. It turns out however that in addition to this “detainer” policy being patently illegal as applied to U.S. citizens, it is also draining county tax dollars from the resultant lawsuits. In other words this “detainer” policy is ending up costing counties infinitely more money in lawsuits than the money DHS-ICE pays them to detain inmates for them. So in their zeal to push a “tough-on-immigration” agenda using the “detainers”, county officials(often Republican counties) are ending up wasting much needed tax dollars settling lawsuits brought by illegally detained U.S. citizens—a total travesty.

Bottom line as Yours Truly has said all along, Congress must step in and enforce some checks on DHS-ICE’s seemingly absolute powers. It seems as if at every turn DHS-ICE is violating the constitutional rights of poor immigrants whether that be through its evil family separation policy, illegal surveillance of legal immigrants or now illegally detaining U.S. citizens. A wise man once said, “power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.” It’s about time the U.S. Congress reigned in DHS-ICE’s absolute power.

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You may reach the author via email at author@grassrootsdempolitics.com or author@emolumentsclause.com

GA GOP County Officials Plan To Close 75% Of Polling Stations In Black Area


According to a New York Times piece GOP election officials in Georgia plan to close 7 out of 9 polling stations in Randolph county, a predominantly black county that votes overwhwlmingly for Democrats.

The New York Times piece points out that the majority of residents in this majority black county are poor and therefore lack reliable transportation. Closing down more than 75% of the polling stations would require them to travel more than 10 miles to vote–a move that will almost certainly depress voter turnout.


It cannot also be left unsaid(and the NYT article catches it) that this shameful move by Randolph county GOP election officials is a direct result of decisions by the the Roberts Supreme Court which have rolled back Voting Rights Act provisions that required state election officials to get permission before making changes that affect how people vote. In essence the Roberts Supreme Court has literally given local state officials total control in election related issues, the result of which is this shameful episode in Randolph county, Georgia.

It also bears pointing out that Georgia, and its GOP Secretary of State Brian Kemp in particular, has long been in the crosshairs of election integrity advocates and this latest incident in Randolph county will only make things worse.

This kind of chicanery by state GOP election officials is quite common in southern states and Yours Truly has repeatedly called on the DNC to take action against GOP election officials in Texas who have packed unverifiable voting machines in Dem strongholds. The DNC is yet to move a finger.


Bottom line even though the article points out that the Geoegia ACLU is going after Randolph county GOP election officials, grassroots Democrats would prefer the DNC to be on the forefront of these fights. There’s no earthly reason why the DNC continues to stay in the sidelines while local GOP election officials are actively scheming on how to steal the Dem vote!!

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Is The Surveillance State Targeting Dems Using Twitter

California ACLU Technology and Civil Liberties Director Nicole Ozer penned a very troubling piece in December 2016 on how federal spy centers aka fusion centers are increasingly using Twitter for mass surveillance.


According to Nicole’s piece a company called Dataminr, partly owned by Twitter, provides the federal spy centers(fusion centers) with tweet data, including GPS location, which the spy centers use for surveillance purposes. Twitter says it stopped Dataminr from providing tweet data to fusion centers in 2016 but given the Trump administration’s demonstrated hostility towards any form of criticism especially on Twitter, any reasonable person would go back and verify whether Dataminr has indeed stopped its cooperation with federal spy centers.

The article also points out that this kind of Twitter surveillance is  directed more at minorities and political activists. It is therefore not a stretch to suggest that #TheResistance movement which has grown in leaps and bounds on Twitter since December 2016 when Nicole Ozer penned her article, has also become a target of these federal spy centers(fusion centers). In other words there is reason to believe that Dem activists are increasingly being subjected to surveillance by these federal spy centers over their anti-Trump tweets–a clear cut violation of their first amendment rights.

Bottom line congressional Dems must demand hearings on this troubling nexus between Twitter and federal spy centers to make sure the public(especially Dems) are not being punished with unconstitutional surveillance for their anti-Trump posts on Twitter

Alternatively, because congressional Dems have developed a reputation for weakness, ACLU’s Nicole Ozer should revisit the issue and inform the public as to whether Dataminr really terminated its cooperation with federal spy centers as Twitter alleged in 2016.

Yours Truly already knows the answer to this question but will give Twitter/Dataminr the benefit of the doubt nonetheless.

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