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DHS Settles with ICE Attorney Trying to Enforce Law

Arizona’s top Immigration and Customs Enforcement prosecutor, whose discrimination case against the Department of Homeland Security revealed internal unrest in the face of the Obama administration’s diluted immigration enforcement efforts, has settled for nearly $400,000, according to the New York Times.

Patricia Vroom, an award-winning, veteran ICE attorney, filed the suit late last year claiming that she and other career officials were strong armed into compliance with the administration’s prosecutorial discretion immigration enforcement policy. And, to that end, Vroom charged that she was the victim of age and gender discrimination and a hostile work environment.

The Times reports that under the settlement reached with DHS, Vroom will be paid $399,999 to drop the suit, she will retire on October 1, and her recent annual performance rating will be revised more favorably. Vroom has been employed by ICE and its predecessor, the U.S. Immigration & Naturalization Service, since 1988.

Vroom had charged that supervisors unfairly rated her performance due to her failure to unquestioningly embrace prosecutorial discretion — such as bullying and giving her poor performance reviews for being too slow in dismissing criminal alien cases, particularly those convicted of identity theft.

In addition to the sexual discrimination, ageism, and hostile work environment Vroom charged that senior officials created, the complaint also revealed that ICE personnel were told to “favorably exercise prosecutorial discretion” for drunk drivers and certain convicted felons.

“This was a very significant development, as generally, criminal aliens, particularly convicted felons, are, under the Director [John] Morton [prosecutorial discretion] memos, ‘priority’ cases that should be aggressively pursued,” the suit charged.

At the time of the initial filing, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) expressed concern about the allegations in the complaint.

“What is troubling is that several of the people named in the complaint are tasked with enforcing our immigration laws and implementing the President’s November 20, 2014, announcement which further curtails immigration enforcement,” he said at the time.

According to The Times, as part of the agreement the agency is not admitting any wrongdoing.

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