Tag Archives: ICE

2019 American of the Year: Matthew Albence

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Matthew Albence speaks speaks during a press conference in the briefing room of the White House in September 2019

 

It is an increasingly high-profile job, one where it is difficult, maybe impossible to please anyone on either side of the American political aisle for very long.

I am talking about the person serving at the very top of the leadership pyramid at ICE, the agency responsible for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Into the midst of this tremendously partisan political environment and under the glare of an increasingly harsh media spotlight stepped this year’s American of the Year honoree, Matthew Albence.

On the day after Independence Day at the start of this past summer, Albence began his tenure as the Acting Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He was elevated to the post by President Trump in an announcement that came back in April.

At that announcement, the president stated that Albence would be replacing the former acting director, Ron Vitiello, stating according to CNN’s Priscilla AlvarezRon’s a good man but we’re going in a tougher direction. We want to go in a tougher direction.”

Prior to taking on the Acting Director responsibilities, Albence had performed the job of ICE Deputy Director since August 2018, leading the nation’s immigration enforcement efforts. Prior to that, Albence served from February 2017 as the agency’s Executive Associate Director for Enforcement and Removal Operations.

In that position, Albence led the mission to identify, arrest, and remove aliens who presented a danger to national security or who were deemed a risk to public safety. He also led the operation to remove those who enter the United States illegally, as well as those who undermine the integrity of U.S. immigration laws and border control efforts.

A graduate of American University with a Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice/Law Enforcement Administration, Albence also holds a Master’s Degree in same from Southern Illinois University.

Albence has a quarter-century of federal law enforcement experience. After beginning his career with the old INS (U.S. Immigration & Naturalization Service) in San Antonio back in 1994 he moved on to supervisory positions in both Chicago and Detroit.

Serving a stint as Unit Chief with the ICE training academy in Glynco, Georgia he then took on positions as both TSA Deputy Special Agent in Charge of the South Central Regional Field Office and Deputy Assistant Director for the ERO Criminal Alien Division.

As you can see, Albence brings a great deal of experience to the job as ICE’s senior law enforcement official. With a budget of more than $7 billion, he oversees the day-to-day operations of the agency. This includes a workforce of more than 20,000 officers, special agents, attorneys, and support personnel who are assigned to more than 400 homeland and international offices.

Albence was promoted to this role during a particularly difficult time of change where United States homeland security is concerned. In fact, Kirstjen Nielsen, the Secretary of Homeland Security, had announced her resignation from that cabinet post in early April 2019.

The toughness cited by President Trump in elevating Albence was displayed numerous times during the year. For example, in July he slammed a member of the press for using the term “raids” in reference to legitimate ICE deportation efforts.

Calling these raids does a disservice to everybody that’s involved in this process,” Albence said per Ted Hesson at Politico. “A raid brings up all sorts of emotions that conjures images of indiscriminate enforcement actions. That is not what we do … I guarantee you that if we were out there doing raids and we had officers running all over the place picking up targets indiscriminately, you would have videos all over YouTube.

In October, Albence addressed the issues surrounding a ruling handed down by the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California that immigration officers cannot develop probable cause to believe that an individual may be removable based on certain database checks alone.

This conclusion is out of step with the realities of modern law enforcement, endangers the public, and construes probable cause in an unfairly restrictive way,” said Albence in a press briefing. “Moreover, this decision, issued by a single judge in Los Angeles, will impact at least 43 states, threatening communities far beyond the one in which this judge sits.

Earlier this month it was announced that the North Texas region led the nation for a third consecutive year in the number of civil arrests for immigration violations.

One of the things which is unique — although it shouldn’t be — is [that] the level of cooperation between state and local law enforcement and our officers here is unsurpassed anywhere in the country,” said Albence per Dianne Solis at The Dallas Morning News. “When you have that cooperation, you get these kinds of results.

It is that issue of cooperation between ICE officers and local law enforcement that has become problematic in some areas of the country. Mayors and other politicians have turned most major American cities into so-called ‘Sanctuary Cities‘, referring to them as safe harbors for illegal aliens.

Democratic U.S. congresswoman Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi of California and Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, both Democratic Party candidates for president, have actually published notices to illegals on avoiding a lawful deportation.

We’re sworn law enforcement officers to conduct these exact sort of operations,” Albence said per Charlotte Cuthbertson at The Epoch Times. “There is no other law enforcement agency in this country that has been asked to ignore the lawful order of a judge.

While the Democrats continue to aggressively battle against the lawful efforts of ICE officers, those personnel continue to work diligently on a daily basis to enforce the immigration laws of the United States.

Both as a representative of the hard-working and dedicated officers and support personnel of ICE as a whole and for his own efforts over a long career in support of those vital law enforcement operations, Matthew Albence is selected as the 2019 American of the Year.

Below are the individuals who have been named as the American of the Year in prior years. Click on their name in order to read the piece published at the time of their receipt of the honor.

PREVIOUS AMERICANS OF THE YEAR

2004 – Pat Tillman
2005 – Bill O’Reilly
2006 – Billy Graham
2007 – Chuck Cassidy
2008 – George W. Bush
2009 – Glenn Beck
2010 – Ron Paul
2011 – Seal Team 6
2012 – Michael Phelps
2013 – Ted Cruz
2014 – (none named)
2015 – (none named)
2016 – Kellyanne Conway
2017 – Donald Trump
2018 – Nikki Haley

 

2017 American of the Year: Donald Trump

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It’s hard to imagine any first-year American President having to cope with partisan trials such as Donald Trump was forced to endure in office during 2017.

Trump was sworn-in back in January as the first-ever President of the United States to not previously have been an elected politician or serve in the American military ranks.

The new President was under attack from the opposition Democratic Party and liberal-slanted media outlets from day one.

On the television airwaves, networks such as CNN and MSNBC, programs like “The View”, and talk hosts led by Jimmy Kimmel continually bashed the President and his ideas and programs. While these same outlets and individuals had treated the last Republican President, George W. Bush, in much the same way, they chose to take it to a new level with Trump.

Meanwhile the Democrats, led by Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren attacked Trump through their media friends as often as possible, and on every issue. Their hatred, and that is what it is, pure hatred, came largely due to their shock that Trump was in office at all.

They had collectively believed that their idol, the socialist-leaning Barack Obama, would be followed to the highest office in the land by Hillary Clinton. The first black POTUS to be followed by the first female President. Even more importantly to them, the liberal progressive agenda would continue on.

When it didn’t happen, the Dems and the media were legitimately shocked. They responded by lashing out in an open, obvious, childish tantrum never seen previously. It is a whining, crying, stomping feet tantrum that continues today.

Trump had established during his campaign in 2016 that he was never just going to sit back and take it from the media. He continued taking to Twitter to get out his message unfiltered. Often those messages were direct counter-attacks at the media.

The media had never experienced anything like it. They were used to controlling the message heard by the vast majority of Americans. Here was a President not only going around them to deliver his program and policy ideas, but also his personal thoughts on a wide range of issues.

Donald Trump is the first POTUS to make such aggressive use of social media to reach the masses. It has backfired on him occasionally. He has at times come across as petty and vindictive.

However, there is not doubt that he has also kept his base fired up. And there is no doubt that his Twitter account has been a major public relations and messaging tool.

Thanks to the President’s past as a businessman rather than a politician, he is beholden to far fewer special interests than normally chip away at the energy of other administrations.

His personal wealth allows him an independence of thought, speech, and action rarely seen in occupants of the Oval office. And his life experiences as a public figure for decades have left him unafraid of how he is perceived.

Because of the uniqueness of the man, he has won the year by successfully labeling as “fake news” that old school media. That the moniker has stuck is largely their own fault.

The media has often gotten away from its reporting responsibilities to actually become a second form of opposition. So instead of simply battling Democrats, the President has to battle an ego-shattered media.

However, defeating a biased media that has largely abandoned any expectations of impartiality in reporting is not the reason that he has been selected as the 2017 American of the Year. That’s nice, don’t get me wrong, but it’s really a minor factor.

There have been a series of big victories during this first year for President Trump that have led to his selection for the honor. In many ways, his has been one of the most effective freshman season’s in POTUS history. Let’s examine this substantive list of accomplishments.

We’ll begin from the end: the President was a pivotal voice in getting tax reform done for the first time in more than three decades. As Sarah Westwood and Gabby Morrongiello at the Washington Examiner stated: 

“In addition to slashing the corporate tax rate from 35 to 21 percent, the landmark legislation cut individual rates for all income tax levels, doubled the child tax credit to $2,000, and dramatically increased the standard deduction.”

President Trump also began to change the face of the American judiciary, consistently and insistently pushing the courts toward the right with his nominations and appointments. This was led by the appointment of Neil Gorsuch, an originalist in the mold of his friend and idol, the late Antonin Scalia, to the Supreme Court of the United States.

The appointment of Justice Gorsuch, a dozen judges to the federal appeals courts, as well as a host of lower court appointments made and to come, will be a legacy that will positively effect the nation for decades after he leaves office. And again, that’s only year one.

All year long, Trump signed executive orders rolling back Obama-era regulations which had handcuffed the American economy. He had promised during the campaign to cut two regulations for any new regulation put in place. Here at year’s end, the administration has announced that it has saved billions by actually slicing 22 regulations for each new one.

Trump pushed for the FCC to end so-called “net neutrality”, withdrew the U.S. from the Paris climate deal and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and set aside policies aimed at normalizing relations with the dictatorial Cuban regime.

These were all in keeping with another of Trump’s campaign pledges: “America first.” Those Obama-era programs, policies, and deals were not good for America. We were always being asked to carry the burden for the rest of a world that often seems disinterested in changing to help themselves.

President Trump showed the leadership spine necessary to call out the international community, as well as to once again set free the vital communications and information services of the Internet.

In perhaps his boldest statement to that international community, the President finally did what numerous predecessors had promised but fell short in having the courage to actually deliver. I’m talking here about his public recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

In his statement announcing the move, the President also let it be known that he planned to have the United States embassy in Israel moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem:

“In 1995, Congress adopted the Jerusalem Embassy Act, urging the federal government to relocate the American embassy to Jerusalem and to recognize that city — and so importantly — is Israel’s capital.  This act passed Congress by an overwhelming bipartisan majority and was reaffirmed by a unanimous vote of the Senate only six months ago. Yet, for over 20 years, every previous American president has exercised the law’s waiver, refusing to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem or to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city.”

Key themes during his campaign were tougher immigration policy, increased border security, and more aggressive action against criminal illegal immigrants. Check, check, and check.

President Trump immediately removed the handcuffs which had been placed on ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) by Obama. As reported by Avery Anapol at The Hill, this was made plain in a statement made by ICE director Thomas Homan in early December:

“This president has done more for border security and public safety than any of the six presidents I’ve worked for. Just since his leadership in January, border crossings are at a 45-year low. Now that’s not a coincidence. That’s because this president has let the men and women of Border Patrol and ICE do their job.”

The goal of radical Islam is nothing less than the establishment of a worldwide caliphate under Sharia law spread through jihad in its various forms. The U.S. military virtually dismantled ISIL (also known as ISIS) this year, largely thanks to greater freedom provided through President Trump’s leadership.

All year long, the President battled liberal judges on the federal bench over the issue of a travel ban aimed at restricting traffic into the U.S. from a number of Muslim-majority nations. Despite the best efforts of these jurists, a version of Trump’s ban is now in place. Per Mark Sherman of the AP through Fox News, the ban “applies to travelers from Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen.

The President formed a lasting, positive relationship with a number of foreign leaders during the year. However, he also battled it out with a number as well, none more publicly and menacingly than North Korea’s Kim Jong-un.

In the administration’s list of foreign policy achievements for 2017, the actions against the North Koreans are front and center. They include designating North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism, banning more than 90% of that country’s exports, and encouraging other nations to join with tougher actions, especially China. 

During his first year in office, the President visited the Middle East and Europe, met with the Pope in Vatican City, and undertook the longest trip to Asia by any POTUS in the last quarter century.

Through his own statements and those of his appointed U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley, the President made it known that America would always act in its own self interests first.

The President is still fighting to get a full, secure wall built along the U.S. southern border with Mexico. But not waiting, his unleashing of the Border Patrol has resulted in the fewest attempted illegal crossings in decades. His newly appointed Secretary of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen, let it be known that going after the violent MS-13 gang was a top priority.

President Trump has delivered on many of his promises already, and it was only the first of at least four years. Shackles have been removed from both the economy and homeland security that will benefit all Americans. The courts are gradually returning to the Constitution. The world is learning that “America first” is real, not just a campaign slogan.

The President has accomplished all of these things with absolutely no help from that opposition Democratic Party. He has accomplished them despite mischaracterization and at times outright character assassination from leftist media. 

For his accomplishments on behalf of the United States of America this year, President Donald J. Trump is selected as our 2017 American of the Year.

The following are the previous 11 honorees (there was no selection in 2014 or 2015 due to a temporary change in direction by the website):

2004 – Pat Tillman, 2005 – Bill O’Reilly, 2006 – Rev. Billy Graham, 2007 – P/O Chuck Cassidy, 2008 – President George W. Bush, 2009 – Glenn Beck, 2010 – Senator Ron Paul, 2011 – U.S. Navy Seal Team 6, 2012 – Michael Phelps, 2013 – Senator Ted Cruz, 2016 – Kellyanne Conway

Articles written on these prior honorees can be viewed simply by clicking on the “American of the Year” tag following this article.

Dems keep throwing curves, Trump keeps taking them deep

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Democrats have tried nearly everything within their power during 2017 to discredit President Donald J. Trump. Still obviously butt-hurt after Hillary Clinton’s stunning (to them) defeat last November, they have refused to simply play the role of gallant opposition party.

The Dems could have decided to put forth their own agenda, their own vision for the future, pushing those programs into the public consciousness through their media cohorts.

They could have chosen to work with the Republican-controlled U.S. Congress to gain something, no matter how small, for their own constituents until the next opportunity to win control for themselves at the ballot box.

Instead, they chose a MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) scorched Earth policy of no-holds barred, relentless attacks against the Trump administration.

They did so in some cases knowing full well that it would mean some of their own stars would fall, such as U.S. Senator Al Franken. It has been a year of nothing else but “take down Trump, at all costs” for the liberal progressive Democratic Party.

They have pulled one trick pitch after another out of their arsenal. Trump collusion with the Russians helped enable the November 2016 election upset. Trump’s anti-immigration goals would prove reminiscent of Nazi Germany in the 1930’s.

His reversal of Barack Obama regulations, as well as ill-conceived tax reform, would benefit the wealthy while hurting the “little guy” and prove devastating to both the economy and the environment.

Relentless attacks on Trump on these and many other issues, all aided by their liberal media sycophants, were sure to eventually wear down the President. There would be a major slip-up, some irreversible damage would occur. This would lead to a Democratic Party takeover of the U.S. Senate and Congress in 2018, and then the White House in 2020.

Heck, perhaps the inevitable Trump gaffe would be so major that it would lead to impeachment, and a Nixonian resignation. Then a weakened Pence administration would be dominated by the new Dem-controlled congress over the next couple of years.

That was the plan as inning after inning, the Dems took turns on the mound making their pitch, tossing curve balls and spit balls at the President and his team.

Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Jimmy Kimmel. CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times, the Washington Post. Much of their pitch financed by deep-pocketed ownership in the person of George Soros, along with other wealthy liberals.

And yet here we are, more than a year after that election, and Donald J. Trump is still standing, perhaps stronger than ever. Nearly every exaggerated curve tossed by the Dems to date, every fabricated spitter that has slipped from their grip, has been taken deep by POTUS.

Russian collusion on the election? About as big a nothing burger as has been offered up on the liberal menu in decades. When the liberal progressives couldn’t nail Trump with that one, they went after his son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Then his son, Donald Trump Jr. The result? Two more wild pitches in the dirt.

Immigration? There is still no wall, even though the President continues to tout it’s inevitability. Big city liberal mayors such as Philly’s Jim Kenney continue to thumb their noses at federal immigration law by establishing their municipalities as “sanctuary cities” while taunting the President with vitriolic rhetoric. But there have also been huge wins.

An empowered and emboldened ICE made more than 143,000 arrests, with a 92% “win” rate. The proportion of removals resulting from ICE arrests rose from just 27% in FY2016 under Obama to 36% in FY2017 under Trump.

ICE has taken down hundreds of members of the notorious MS-13 gang. The CBP (U.S. Customs and Border Patrol) has stated that due to President Trump, we have seen a “historic shift” in attempted illegal border crossings. Also, SCOTUS just upheld President Trump’s travel ban from seven Muslim-majority countries. All of these moves are helping make America more secure.

The economy? Come on now. The DOW and NASDAQ break records almost daily. Unemployment and jobs figures consistently reveal the success of this President. He has returned the U.S. economy to basic capitalist principles from Obama-era socialist policies. Both the Keystone and Dakota XL pipelines have been fast-tracked by President Trump.

Unburden private industry from the yoke of government over-regulation and taxation, and business will blossom, expand, and hire. Real business owners in their actual hiring practices and stock market speculators betting on the future of the American economy under Trump continue to react favorably.

Justice Neil Gorsuch has been seated on the U.S. Supreme Court, and 10 more judges have been appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals. Still another half-dozen judges have been appointed to the U.S. district courts. And there is more to come, as 42 more Trump court nominees are awaiting Senate action. Over 150 more judicial slots are up for appointment during President Trump’s first term.

It hasn’t been all home runs for POTUS. His Twitter feed continues to be a frustrating mix, even for his most ardent supporters. There are clever retorts and tough responses to political and media challenges, as we saw play successfully in the campaign.

However, he also chooses to engage for too frequently on social media with negative commentary and insults that are unnecessary, and which occasionally take focus away from more important issues.

Still, as 2017 draws to a close, this has clearly been a strong season for the rookie politician. And it could get even better if tax reform is actually finalized before Christmas, as the President has stated he hopes.

Even if those tax reform negotiations flip over into early 2018, Trump continues to swing from the heels, connecting with the liberal flutter-balls for a rising number of policy and appointment home runs.

Kate Steinle verdict is latest evidence that California is lost

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Kathryn ‘Kate’ Steinle was a 32-year old woman back on Wednesday, July 1, 2015 as she walked along Pier 14 in San Francisco. It was a gorgeous day in the City by the Bay, perfect for a leisurely stroll.

There was no way under these completely innocent circumstances, not far from her home, with her Dad and a friend alongside her, that this beautiful young woman would have given even a passing thought that this was the final moment of her life.

Jose Inez Garcia Zarate was a 45-year old (possibly older) illegal from Mexico who had already been deported from the United States on five separate occasions. Seven felony convictions on his record, he was on probation still in Texas.

That night, Zarate, who also has gone by Juan Francisco López-Sánchez or Francisco Sánchez, was back in the United States illegally. He was purported to have been simply wandering the same area of Pier 14 where Steinle and her companions were enjoying their stroll.

John Woychowski was an agent for the California Bureau of Land Management. That same day, he and his family were driving to Montana when they decided to stop off for dinner in San Francisco. 

Woychowski, per a Fox News report:

“…parked his car in what he thought was a safe location and left a black backpack, which had his loaded weapon inside, in the back seat. He said the car was locked and had an alarm and tinted windows. When his family returned from dinner, he said his car’s windows were smashed and the backpack was gone. He said he immediately reported the theft to 9-1-1 and his employer.”

The gun was the .40-caliber Sig Sauer P239, a popular handgun. A review from James Grant back in 2012 said that the gun “not only looks the part of secret service heater, but plays it just as well.

That night, that gun would be used to end the life of Kate Steinle. It was fired by Zarate, who claimed to have simply found it wrapped in cloth underneath a bench, and that the shooting was accidental.

As Steinle innocently walked along, Zarate fired the weapon three times. One of the bullets ricocheted off the pier’s concrete decking and struck Steinle in the back. She went down immediately, with her father dropping in a panic next to her.

“Help me, Dad.

In her father’s arms, those were the final words in the life of Kate Steinle.



Just three months earlier, Zarate had been released from jail by San Francisco authorities. This was despite a request from federal immigration authorities that he be detained in order that he might again be deported. 

You see, San Francisco is another in a series of large American sanctuary cities where local law enforcement has been barred from cooperating with the feds in such cases.

Zarate was quickly arrested and charged with first-degree murder, as well as with narcotics violations. Through his attorney, high-profile San Francisco political activist Matt Gonzalez, he entered a ‘Not Guilty’ plea. 

The Sheriff who ordered Zarate’s release was Ross Mirkarimi, co-founder of California’s ultra-liberal Green Party. He was soundly defeated in a November 2015 re-election bid. The case was also highlighted during Donald Trump’s 2016 U.S. Presidential campaign. 


A number of pieces of legislation aimed at attacking the myriad problems involving illegal immigration were specifically introduced following this heinous crime. Texas U.S. Senator Ted Cruz and Arizona U.S. Congressman Matt Salmon introduced “Kate’s Law”, first proposed by broadcaster Bill O’Reilly, as one such measure. 

Each of these measures has been met with opposition, almost exclusively along party lines. Democrats consistently have fought any legislation aimed at further restricting or controlling the illegal immigration problem.

After a dozen days of testimony, and after hearing dozens of witnesses, the San Francisco jury was instructed that they could consider first-degree murder as well as second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter.

Yesterday, after six days of deliberations, that jury made up of residents from this notoriously ultra-liberal northern California city returned its verdict: Not guilty.

Tom Homan, the Deputy Director for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), quickly issued this statement:

“San Francisco’s policy of refusing to honor ICE detainers is a blatant threat to public safety and undermines the rule of law. This tragedy could have been prevented if San Francisco had simply turned the alien over to ICE, as we requested, instead of releasing him back onto the streets. It is unconscionable that politicians across this country continue to endanger the lives of Americans with sanctuary policies while ignoring the harm inflicted on their constituents. Following the conclusion of this case, ICE will work to take custody of Mr. Garcia Zarate and ultimately remove him from the country.”

California, where a jury released O.J. Simpson just over 22 years ago, has once again shown itself to be a place friendly to those accused under perceived social injustice. Never mind the actual justice for the truly innocent murder victims.

There was no justice in California yesterday for Kate Steinle and her still grieving family. We’re just shocked — saddened and shocked … that’s about it,” said Kate’s father Jim per the San Francisco Chronicle. “There’s no other way you can coin it. Justice was rendered, but it was not served.

No, justice was not served Mr. Steinle. It isn’t the first time here on the Left coast, and it won’t be the last. California has been sliding farther and farther away from mainstream American values for decades. Yesterday in San Francisco, that was proven once again.