Following allegations that officials created a hostile work environment for a career Immigration and Customs Enforcement prosecutor who pushed back against orders to be lenient on convicted criminal immigrants, House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) is looking for answers.
“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,” Goodlatte said Monday, promising “aggressive oversight into these allegations.”
Last month — as reported by Breitbart News — Patricia Vroom, a career ICE official, filed a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security charging her superiors with creating a hostile work environment and not fully carrying out certain immigration prosecutions.
“The complaint lays out in explicit detail an alleged pattern and practice where senior management of the ICE Office of the Principle Legal Advisor (OPLA) bullied career lawyers and destroyed careers to force compliance with the Obama administration’s anti-immigration law enforcement policies, and put in their place favored individuals,” Goodlatte wrote in a letter Monday to DHS Sec. Jeh Johnson who is named as the sole defendant in Vroom’s suit.
In his missive, Goodlatte recounts managers’ alleged plan to push “undesirable” career officials out as well as allegations that employees were told not to enforce certain aspects of immigration law.
“[T]he complaint alleges that personnel were instructed to ignore the law they were sworn to uphold and routinely release and dismiss cases for entire classes of criminal aliens, including certain convicted felons, drunk drivers, DACA applicants, unlawful juveniles apprehended during the border surge, aliens convicted of identity theft, and aliens who made false claims to citizenship in order to vote,” the Virginia lawmaker wrote.
“According to the complaint, as it pertains to aliens with DUI convictions, Jim Stolley of FLO said, ‘We don’t give a s*%! about that, let it go,'” he continued. “This statement, if true, is an insult to all of those killed and maimed by drunk drivers. Further, it is inconsistent with testimony provided to this Committee by former ICE Director John Morton and former Secretary [Janet] Napolitano. During such testimony they stated that drunk driving offenses would be treated as an enforcement priority.”
Goodlatte requested that DHS answer a series of questions related to enforcement priorities, prosecution decisions, low prosecution success rate, disciplinary actions against those named in the suit, as well as prior complaints of this nature by Dec. 22.