The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement released a memo Friday noting that ICE employees have “prosecutorial discretion” when it comes to immigration enforcement, and lists detailed ways in which this discretion may be used. Â The factors ICE may consider when deciding whether or not to pursue a case include:Â veterans and members of the U.S. armed forces;Â long-time lawful permanent residents;Â minors and elderly individuals;Â individuals present in the United States since childhood;Â pregnant or nursing women;Â victims of domestic violence; trafficking, or other serious crimes;Â individuals who suffer from a serious mental or physical disability; andÂ individuals with serious health conditions.
“Of course, just because ICE employees have discretion, doesn’t mean they’ll use it,” notes Latino blog NewsTaco.com,Â “but this is a big departure from the Obama Administration’s policies of historic deportations and Secure Communities deportations of non-criminals.”
ICE protects children, arrests criminals
As the most vulnerable members of society, children deserve to be protected and allowed to grow in a safe environment. Unfortunately, there are criminals who try to exploit or harm them. Recently, two U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents were recognized for their work towards catching child predators at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children Awards Ceremony in Washington, DC. The ceremony honored law enforcement personnel who have demonstrated exceptional efforts in the recovery of missing children and the investigation of child sexual exploitation. Senior Special Agent (SSA) James Kilpatrick from the ICE HSI Pittsburgh office spearheaded Operation Goodbye and Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Emily Arnold from the ICE HSI Philadelphia office helped take down child predator Kenneth Schneider.
“Awards are great, but it’s rewarding in itself to catch child predators. Everyone at ICE knows that every time we put a predator in jail, it protects a child from being harmed in the future,” said one of the honored agents.
SSA Kilpatrick spearheaded Operation Goodbye, which sought individuals who created and distributed child pornography. Kilpatrick worked alongside agents and prosecutors in 10 different judicial districts. Together, they infiltrated a group that used asocial networking site to post and share images of children engaging in sexual acts. This infiltration eventually led to the discovery of an online forum, where child pornography was distributed. ICE agents identified approximately 50 individuals involved with sites. Twenty-three have been convicted.
Taking Down Kenneth Schneider
SAC Arnold began investigating Kenneth Schneider with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in August 2008. Schneider was a U.S. citizen and international attorney who lived overseas for long periods of time. He served as the founder and president of the Apogee Foundation, an organization that sponsored children at fine arts schools throughout the world. Agents suspected that Schneider engaged in sexual acts with children. Their investigation helped identify a victim, a student sponsored by Schneider’s organization.
Schneider was indicted in January 2010 for traveling to engage in sexual acts with a minor and transporting a minor for sexual acts. He was arrested in Cyprus in March 2010 and was convicted on both counts in October 2010. He is currently incarcerated and awaiting sentencing.