The Department of Homeland Security’s (“DHS”) website has announced that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) has created a new position: Public Advocate and Senior Advisor. The position will be held by Andrew Lorenzen-Strait. According to the announcement, the Public Advocate position primarily involves assisting individuals and community organizations with their complaints and concerns. I find it both fascinating and wonderful that a law enforcement agency would create a Public Advocate position. The most incredible part of the announcement is not just that the position has been created, but the statement that:
As we work to enact significant policy changes to focus the agency’s immigration enforcement resources on sensible priorities, implement policies and processes that prioritize the health and safety of detainees in our custody while increasing federal oversight, and improve the conditions of confinement within the detention system, I will strive to expand and enhance our dialogue with the stakeholder community.
I really hope that this portion of the announcement is true. It would be wonderful if ICE focused its enforcement resources on sensible priorities and improved the conditions of confinement. I’ve yet to see any signs of improvement for any of my detained clients.