Thousands of ‘ICE PAPERS’ Reveal Political Motivations of Immigration Raids, Advocacy Groups Say

Jul 3, 2019
3:00 PM

On Wednesday, advocacy organizations Mijente and Detention Watch Network released thousands of documents and a summary report with information from “Operation Mega,” a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) nationwide raid that targeted at least 8,400 people. Shared under the name “ICE Papers,” the documents show that the agency worked with arrest quotas, and that agents at times used inappropriate language when discussing the raid.

“We’ve confirmed in government documents that ICE operations are politically motivated and not at all about national security, as the administration claims,” a summary of the report said. “In their own words, via plans and tactics we uncovered, you will catch a glimpse into their machinations to target, harass, and expel migrants from their communities.”

In a series of tweets, Mijente said that one ICE agent used derogatory language, telling colleagues, “Happy hunting.”

The documents also reveal that to meet arrest quotas, ICE detained anyone who the organization suspected was undocumented, at times expecting to arrest “collaterals.”

While planning for the raid, ICE used immigration, criminal, and commercial databases to create ‘target lists,'” the summary noted. “First, ICE HQ with the help of the National Fugitive Operations Program’s National Criminal Alien Targeting Center (NCATC), set a minimum national arrest quota number of 8,400 people. The NCATC generated a target list using a ‘myriad of sources,’ including some commercial vendors (i.e., private companies) that collect personal information like traffic tickets, license plates, or utility bills.” 

Image from one of the documents where in an email, an agent writes, “This is essentially a kitchen sink type list.” (Source: Mijente)

Another document also showed an email exchange where one agent responds, “It’s gonna be EPIC!” following a name change for the operation.

Email exchange between ICE agents. (Source: Mijente)

“While the documents detail information about raids planned back in 2017, we noted the ‘rinse-and-repeat’ nature of ICE’s operations and what we can expect, as Trump reignites the threat of more raids to come after July 4th,” Jacinta González, senior campaign organizer with Mijente, told The Daily Beast.

The documents, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, can be found here.