Patterico's Pontifications

2/5/2009

A Follow-Up to This Morning’s Post About That Wretched L.A. Times Article on Apprehensions of Fugitive Aliens

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 10:02 pm

This morning I criticized an L.A. Times article that claimed that a new study, “along with newly released internal memos,” shows that ICE has “abandoned its stated mission to go after dangerous fugitives and instead targeted noncriminal undocumented workers.” I showed that the study actually showed that ICE had done no such thing, but rather had given greater latitude to teams serving warrants on fugitive aliens to arrest other illegal aliens they encountered while serving those warrants.

Following up on my post this morning about ICE’s arrests of fugitive aliens, commenter carlitos uncovered further evidence supporting my arguments. His findings are significant enough to merit a new post.

carlitos provides a link to the internal memos that, according to the L.A. Times, show that ICE had “abandoned its stated mission to go after dangerous fugitives.” Here’s a representative quote from one of the memos: “Apprehending fugitive criminal alien cases has always been, and will continue to be, one of the highest priorities for FUGOPS teams.” Further:

To further the enforcement mission of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the FUGOPS teams will prioritize their fugitive cases according to the following standards:

1. Fugitives that pose a threat to national security
II Fugitives that pose a threat to the community
III. Fugitives convicted of violent crimes
IV. Fugitives with criminal records
V. Fugitives that are non-criminals

There will be no percentage quota for the types of cases to be worked. Fugitive cases at all priority levels are to be worked by the FUGOPS teams, but the higher priority cases take precedence.

Wow. You can really feel the abandonment of the commitment to go after dangerous fugitives, huh? It just leaps off the page at you, all that “abandonment.”

But surely the numbers don’t reflect this commitment? After all, in a quote from the study that appeared in this morning’s article, one of the study’s co-authors claims: “Maids and landscapers are precisely the people being rounded up by this program.” carlitos quotes some statistics from the memos that are a wee bit consistent with this claim — and are more consistent with the sorts of numbers I provided this morning:

(1) fugitive vs. non-fugitive arrests, within the meaning of ICE’s Fugitive Case
Management System Reporting and the 1000 Arrest Annual Goal for Fugitive
Operation Teams Memorandum, dated Sept. 29, 2006;

FY05: Fugitives: 5,781; Non-fugitive: 2,178

FY06: Fugitives: 10,109; Non-fugitive: 5,353

FY07: Fugitives: 18,323; Non-fugitive: 12,084

FY08: Fugitives: 25,936; Non-fugitive: 8,219

Most of the people being arrested are fugitives — not maids and landscapers.

The article features a prominent quote from someone at the “Immigration Justice Clinic” claiming that the government is targeting the “low-hanging fruit” of noncriminal undocumented workers. But what is the “Immigration Justice Clinic”? Should we not know this, to assess the credibility of the so-called expert’s claim? Apparently, the editors at the L.A. Times think this information is irrelevant. They neglect to tell readers anything about this organization — but carlitos comes up with the goods that the paper fails to disclose:

Initiated at the law school in 2008, the Immigration Justice Clinic responds to the vital need today for quality legal representation for indigent immigrants facing deportation, while also providing students with invaluable hands-on lawyering experience. The clinic represents immigrants facing deportation before federal immigration authorities and in the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and represents immigrant community-based organizations on litigation and advocacy projects. Peter L. Markowitz, a practicing attorney and full-time clinical assistant professor, is the director.

Yes, it’s an immigrants’ rights group. Was that not pertinent information, editors?

As for the Migration Policy Institute, the independent, nonpartisan think tank that put out the study . . . I checked its sources of funding. I fully expected to find what I found: that one of the funders is the Open Society Institute — in other words, our old friend George Soros. (Who else?)

Ah, the things the L.A. Times neglects to tell you. You could fill a book with them.

25 Responses to “A Follow-Up to This Morning’s Post About That Wretched L.A. Times Article on Apprehensions of Fugitive Aliens”

  1. With the Pelosi/Reid Dems in control of Congress feeling unfettered by a Democrat president, with Rahm “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste” Emanuel as White House chief of staff, and the LA Times continuing its bad habits, the next 2-4 years look real depressing, and they may just be the beginning of really bad times.

    Ira (28a423)

  2. In 2005, 2.65 fugitives were arrested for each non-fugitive arrest.
    In 2008, 3.16 fugitives were arrested for each non-fugitive arrest; approximately a 19% increase in the fugitive to non-fugitive arrest ratio.

    But hey, whose counting? Not the LAT.

    Perfect Sense (0922fa)

  3. I’ve often wondered if the US jumped the shark by putting Obama into the White House. But if all the fools of the left promote laws, policies and ideas that eventually make America more like, say, Mexico—-a society that is forever in a socioeconomic quagmire, forever socialist (or a variation of inner-city America) in its politics, forever Third World in its mediocrity—-then, yep, the US jumped the shark on November 4, 2008.

    Mark (411533)

  4. ““low-hanging fruit” of noncriminal undocumented workers”

    I know it’s a point of contention, but does anyone but me see a problem with the word ‘noncriminal’ in the sentence or report?

    Lord Nazh (899dce)

  5. This isn’t sloppy reporting I don’t think. It’s corruption, simple as that. Greased with greasy Soros monies. The Migration Policy Institute is a lie, and there are thems at the Times happy to accept a commission to abet that lie. That’s what this looks like to me anyway. Corruption.

    happyfeet (4eacbc)

  6. Wait ’til Soros just goes ahead and starts buying failing media (like the LAT).

    Patterico, your criticism is meaningless unless you conduct a census of stories in the local and national press. (Many of whom will simply re-print the LA Times article itself). I kid, of course. The flaws in the story are obvious, whether those flaws occur elsewhere or not.

    I can picture Markovitz’ PR people working the phones based on this article, and have little doubt that these meme will find its way into more mainstream reporting. Many of whom will reprint the words “noncriminal undocumented workers” in their coverage. Which is a nod to Orwell, if ever there was one.

    carlitos (edf43b)

  7. I’m tired of wrangling over language like “non criminal undocumented workers” or whatnot.
    Can we just stipulate that of course a crime was committed by crossing illegally, of course their presence here is an ongoing illegal act, of course working here is another illegal act, and if the “undocumented” is self employed or working under the table then another crime is being done as well?

    That is quite a list.
    Let’s reformulate it.
    (illegal entry + working here)= crime against the state.
    OK
    But from this stipulated point on step past language like “non criminal undocumented…” and get to the meat
    This is about chasing down and removed those whom have additionally committed crimes against persons and the state.
    For the purposes of getting traction towards enforcement priorities lets not get bogged down chasing the people who come here, work hard and keep their nose clean.
    They should rank at the bottom of the priority list.

    And as an aside about landscapers and maids, I read frequently about illegal maids caught stealing jewelery and cash>
    A friend of mine had a woman cleaning his place who was grabbing a few bucks out of his cash stash.
    He set up a trap and caught her, but then just fired her.
    She’s probably doing it to someone else as I speak.

    Anyway, the real “low hanging fruit” would be those illegals who get snared by the law enforcement. Deport them.
    The best use of ICE agents is to round up criminal illegal aliens that are snagged and tagged by our criminal justice system. Lets get together and try to avoid diluting that effort.
    This is the best use of ICE resources for dealing with illegals within our borders.

    SteveG (a87dae)

  8. Since Pat’s an honest man doing the good work of exposing the truth, we can safely assume that he simply forgot to cut and paste the relevant data from the memo carlito linked.

    Aliens arrested under the program:
    FY05: Criminal: 3,596; Non-criminal: 4,363
    FY06: Criminal: 4,525; Non-criminal: 10,937
    FY07: Criminal: 5,432; Non-criminal: 24,975
    FY08: Criminal: 7,919; Non-criminal: 26,230

    Since Pat has a day job and can’t devote ALL his time to fair and balanced review of the LA Times, we can be assured that he failed to cut and paste this data, which is adjacent in the memo to the data he did cut and paste, only because he was too busy or too distracted or, perhaps, misread it somehow. Mechanical failure?

    We can also assume that he’ll now correct himself and would never ban me from the forum, since I’m just pointing out an erroneous omission, rather than suggesting it’s Pat’s or carlito’s way to so clumsily try to mislead readers.

    Can we also assume that Pat and Carlito share a disdain for doubletalk, especially the variety produced by government bureaucrats? We all recall how heroically Ronald Reagan taught us that government is the problem, not the solution. And, indeed, the ICE memos bear him out.

    ICE gets to where it’s going (bigger budgets regardless of performance) by playing word games with the definition of a fugitive in order to make it look like they’re getting the job done.

    The smoking gun: “There will be no percentage quota for the types of cases to be worked.”

    And indeed, as the numbers show, the types of cases worked are increasingly, overwhelmingly, those involving non-criminals.

    And….for readers convenience and continuity’s sake, I’ll cross post this to the original discussion as well.

    Hax Vobiscum (edacf7)

  9. Hax – Your stupidity is growing monumentally. That data is already in the original discussion as well as the explanation.

    Thanks for playing.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  10. Hacks is doubling down on its mendoucheousness.

    JD (b2da6e)

  11. I now see that Carlito cut and pasted the data in his comment.

    Which does raise the question of why Pat didn’t chose to include it in his follow up comment. Not only was the data proving the LAT correct in the memo, it was right here in the comments section.

    I’m sure this is an easily explainable mistake on his part, and carlitos, with no intent to deceive.

    I’m sure both carlito and pat have a very good explanation for why the number of non-criminal aliens arrested skyrocketed relative to the number of criminal aliens. And I’m sure they have an explanation as to why that data should not have been the basis of LAT’s story.

    Hax Vobiscum (edacf7)

  12. Hacks – If you could fucking read, you would see that Patterico and carlito offered detailed explanations outlining this. That you fail to actually read their analysis, and have the temerity to deny its existence just proves how dishonest of a hack you are.

    JD (b2da6e)

  13. Interesting, a case where both the LA Times and Patterico use the same statistics dishonestly.

    Hax is completely correct that Patterico and carlitos have misrepresented the relevant statistics. The relevant statistic is NOT fugitive vs. non-fugitive, but criminal vs. non-criminal. The non-fugitive arrests are for people who have violated the law but are not “fugitives”, which is a legal term meaning person who are fleeing ongoing legal process. The criminal vs. non-criminal statistic represents those who are on the run from criminal proceedings vs. those who skipped out their deportation proceedings or are simply undocumented.

    However, the LA Times is wrong that the statistics demonstrate a change in mission focus. Every year the number of criminals went up, and the number of non-criminal arrests appear to have always been greater than the number of criminal arrests. The question then is why the number of non-criminal arrests has grown 4x from 2005 to 2008 while the number of criminal arrests increased 2x.

    It is impossible to legitimately infer a change in mission focus from the evidence in the LA Times article. There are a number of possible explanation. Economic theory and another statistic show the most likely answer.

    The memos reveal that from 2005 to 2008 the number of operative teams went from 17 to 99. Economics tells us that if the number of criminals is relative steady (and crime statistics suggest that they have been steady or declining from 2005 to 2009) commitment of additional resources will result in lower marginal returns of criminals per team. That appears to be exactly what is going on. The expansion in the number of teams has resulted in declining returns of criminals per sweep as ICE goes from the best “fishing” grounds to the more marginal “fishing” grounds. It also has resulted in lower success per team. While the criminal arrests went up 2x and the non-criminal 4x, to accomplish this required a 5x multiplication of teams. Declining marginal results is EXACTLY what one expects to occur if one applies economic theory to this activity, which is, in the end, a form of work deployment.

    What the LA Times article should have stated as the best and most reasonable explanation is something like this:

    “The expansion of ICE’s criminal sweeps is producing many more additional arrests of non-criminal illegal immigrants as compared to the increase in criminals arrested. From 2005 to 2009 the number of ICE teams dedicated to this task increased five fold. The result was a doubling in the number of criminal arrests, but a quadrupling of the arrests of illegal immigrants who are not accused criminals.”

    That is the story. It’s an interesting story. It’s not the story that the LA Times wrote, but it is also not the story that Patterico wants to tell. Increasing rates of ICE enforcement are, in fact, reducing the number of gardeners at a much greater marginal rate than the number of criminals.

    Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Depends on your point of view. For illegal immigrants and those who hire them, it is a bad thing. For those who suffer the crimes of illegal immigrant communities but are not direct participants in the illegal immigrant economy, it is a good thing. For myself, who falls into neither category, I cannot say.

    Cyrus Sanai (4df861)

  14. Interesting, a case where both the LA Times and Patterico use the same statistics dishonestly.

    Hax is completely correct that Patterico and carlitos have misrepresented the relevant statistics.

    Not so interesting, another case where Cyrus Sanai claims I’m wrong but fails to provide any evidence of it.

    Patterico (cc3b34)

  15. I’m sure both carlito and pat have a very good explanation for why the number of non-criminal aliens arrested skyrocketed relative to the number of criminal aliens. And I’m sure they have an explanation as to why that data should not have been the basis of LAT’s story.

    Indeed, I have both. If you would like to read my posts on the subject, you will see these explanations, set forth in plain English. That I don’t repeat the explanations here in the comments does not mean they aren’t there.

    Patterico (cc3b34)

  16. You might specifically note, both of you, that my original post contained a link to this page with a detailed breakdown of the numbers. You both seem to be unaware that this page exists.

    Here’s a hint: when you criticize a blog post, click on the links — especially the ones that the blogger specifically points out are relevant.

    For example, if you’re criticizing a post’s treatment of numbers, and the blogger says he has much more about the numbers at a link, you should consider clicking that link before opening your pie holes.

    Patterico (cc3b34)

  17. I suppose you could argue that the ICE agents should only arrest the fugitive and not the illegal aliens associates.
    It’d be irresponsible for the agents to run their program differently though. Nonsensical. But it could be argued.

    As a practical matter, I’d expect the agents to detain anyone found with the fugitive that could not show proof of legal residency until the agents could sort out exactly who is who.
    Illegals regularly use aliases, they all have some form of fake ID, so the agents would need to get all that figured out, fingerprints, photos…. see if they have another fugitive.
    After going through the verification process, it’d be a waste of resources spent to just cut the illegals who were associates (even the unwitting ones) of the fugitive loose.
    This would suck if you are an honest, hardworking person renting a part of a room who got caught up in someone elses drama, but that is part of the risk of being here illegally.

    SteveG (a87dae)

  18. No, Patterico, while you do explain why the number of non-criminal arrests is up, you cough up an air ball on the question of why the shift in focus away from criminals, as shown in the data, isn’t an appropriate theme for the report.

    You wrote:
    “In 2006, the policy was changed. Now, the teams serving these warrants were required to arrest any illegal alien with whom they came into contact.”

    That’s exactly what the LA Times report focused on: the shift in policy, i.e. the news.

    The article never implies that there’s a problem with arresting undocumented workers, in general.

    Rather, the problems are that the program asked for and got big budget increases by claiming specifically and unequivocally that it was not going to be in the business of rounding up immigrants who’s only crime was to work without the proper documents.

    Now, the numbers show, unassailably, that the portion of non-criminal aliens arrested is rapidly increasing, year after year.

    The memos show that a requirement that criminal aliens account for 75 percent of the arrest quota was dropped.

    The LAT report stands on the evidence.

    Your quibble here seems to be that there’s something wrong about criticizing ICE for arresting illegal aliens, since they are, after all, lawbreakers.

    But I’m sure you can see that when government bureaucracies demand increasing budgets to do A and promise not to do B, but then turn around and to more and more of B and less and less of A, we’ve got a potential problem.

    I get your argument that B is a semi-accidental consequence of A, but it doesn’t wash, given that we both know that every dollar ICE spends handling non-criminal aliens it arrests is a dollar it doesn’t have to pursue criminal aliens.

    As some posters here have helpfully pointed out, it’s no surprise that ICE finds it a little too hard to focus exclusively on criminals, since the easy catches were completed years ago and now the harder cases are predominating…

    A little less contempt might go a long way for you, Patterico.

    Hax Vobiscum (edacf7)

  19. Pretending that someone has not outlined an argument for you does not mean that it does not exist, Hack Scum. With every comment, you simply prove your lack of good faith.

    JD (fb1fc9)

  20. That’s exactly what the LA Times report focused on: the shift in policy, i.e. the news.

    No, they implied that the teams started to TARGET the illegal aliens who aren’t fugitives or criminals. Not so. Instead, the truth is that teams were told to arrest those people AS WELL, in the course of operations that TARGET the illegal alien fugitives.

    The article never implies that there’s a problem with arresting undocumented workers, in general.

    Certainly not. The stuff about landscapers and maids in no way suggests that there is any problem with arresting undocumented workers. How could anyone think otherwise??

    Now, the numbers show, unassailably, that the portion of non-criminal aliens arrested is rapidly increasing, year after year.

    The numbers also show, unassailably, that the number of criminal aliens and fugitive aliens is increasing, year after year. But because the policy changed to encourage teams to arrest and deport other illegal aliens who fall into their lap, many more of those aliens have been arrested.

    I get your argument that B is a semi-accidental consequence of A, but it doesn’t wash, given that we both know that every dollar ICE spends handling non-criminal aliens it arrests is a dollar it doesn’t have to pursue criminal aliens.

    I believe in prioritizing the removal of illegal aliens with criminal records first; I know of nobody who supports that priority more vigorously. But it’s absurd to tell these teams to ignore huge numbers of other illegals that they identify in the course of serving their warrants, because there might be some teensy tiny marginal expenditure of resources involved in arresting and booking them that someone like you could use to mount a highly theoretical argument that the resources could be more effectively diverted elsewhere.

    It might be different if they could produce witnesses and evidence showing that such a reallocation would have a noticeable improvement on the numbers of criminal aliens arrested. But I doubt it would, so I doubt such witnesses and evidence exists. In any case, I’m content to have the true facts out there and let people make their own judgments.

    Your quibble here seems to be that there’s something wrong about criticizing ICE for arresting illegal aliens, since they are, after all, lawbreakers.

    No, my quibble is that the article is stunningly misleading in its portrayal of the facts. I think anyone reading my posts would have a far better grasp of why the numbers are coming out the way they are — and would be far less offended by the policy.

    A little less contempt might go a long way for you, Patterico.

    I believe I’ve treated you more respectfully than you have treated me — and certainly with as much respect as you’ve earned.

    Patterico (cc3b34)

  21. Understatement of the day.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  22. “Economic theory and another statistic show the most likely answer.

    The memos reveal that from 2005 to 2008 the number of operative teams went from 17 to 99. Economics tells us that if the number of criminals is relative steady (and crime statistics suggest that they have been steady or declining from 2005 to 2009) commitment of additional resources will result in lower marginal returns of criminals per team. That appears to be exactly what is going on.”

    Cyrus – I’m disappointed I missed these whoppers by you last night. You’ve never been short on presumptuousness and tou didn’t disappoint last night. Drawing the conclusions you do based upon “economic theory and statistics” requires some knowledge or assumption of the population of the illegal alien criminal population which you have not presented. How do you know where on the curve of ICE personnel versus arrests you currently stand? Is it an artificial construct to divide the arrests into criminal and noncriminal for the purposes of economic theory since both occupy the time of ICE personnel and prevent them from making additional arrests until processed. Cyrus, once again in an attempt to trot out some faux intellectual snobbery you expose yourself as a charlatan who is full of shit.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  23. “it’s absurd to tell these teams to ignore huge numbers of other illegals …because there might be some teensy tiny marginal expenditure of resources involved in arresting and booking them …”

    Where are you getting “teensy tiny?” Out of thin air, apparently.

    If you gave LAT a fraction of the slack you cut yourself, you’d have nothing to write about.

    If its all good to target non-criminal aliens with the same resources and personnel used to target criminal aliens, why doesn’t ICE itself make that argument?

    The point of the LAT article, as I understood it, is that ICE got big budget increases by emphasizing how dangerous and numerous the people they were targeting are.

    The numbers suggest the vast majority of people they’re nabbing aren’t dangerous and that the dangerous aren’t all that numerous.

    And don’t you think you give your game away by way over-reacting to the article’s frame, rather than its factual content?

    I think even you’ll admit that you’ve got a huge ax to grind on the immigration issue: far more so than LAT does, judging by this article and your response to it.

    I know, I know, you cut yourself more slack because you’re a commentator/amateur/critic, not a journalist.

    But the high dudgeon swings pretty low when you lay on layer after layer of presumption, especially as regards the LA Times motives.

    Hax Vobiscum (edacf7)

  24. [...] Editors took on an ICE policy of deporting illegal aliens with whom they came into contact — distorting the policy to falsely suggest that ICE was targeting innocent illegals. Internal ICE memos discovered by a reader of mine proved that the paper had distorted ICE policy. [...]

    Patterico's Pontifications » Patterico’s Los Angeles Dog Trainer Year in Review 2009 (e4ab32)

  25. [...] Editors took on an ICE policy of deporting illegal aliens with whom they came into contact — distorting the policy to falsely suggest that ICE was targeting innocent illegals. Internal ICE memos discovered by a reader of mine proved that the paper had distorted ICE policy. [...]

    Patterico's Pontifications » Patterico’s Los Angeles Dog Trainer Year in Review 2009 (e4ab32)


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