An award-winning, career prosecutor at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) alleged in a blistering new lawsuit she was punished for resisting orders to release convicted criminal illegal aliens from custody.
The allegations from Patricia M. Vroom, 59, implicate Peter Vincent, the recently-resigned top lawyer at the agency.
Vroom said in an Nov. 6 filing with the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the Arizona District she was ordered to drop prosecutions of illegal aliens with prior DUI convictions because, in the alleged words of senior ICE official Jim Stolley, “We don’t give a shit about that. Let it go.”
She also details pressure from supervisors to drop prosecutions of illegal aliens with identify theft convictions, including one who registered to vote “not once, but twice, both times falsely claiming to be a U.S. citizen,” according to the filing.
Gillian Christensen, a spokeswoman for ICE, said the agency does not respond to pending litigation. Department of Homeland Sec. Jeh Johnson is named in the suit. DHS houses ICE.
Vincent, according to the filing, led a ruthless campaign to purge long-serving officials across the agency to replace with friends and allies.
After President Obama issued the executive “DREAM Act” order in 2012, providing legal status to individuals brought to the U.S. illegally as children, senior officials including Vincent coordinated to prevent the deportation of a DACA recipient convicted of ID theft in Arizona.
Following conflict over that decision and others, Vroom was given poor performance remarks in an annual review at odds with previous reviews, hostile and demeaning emails from superiors, and sexist attitudes.
In February 2013, the filing said, Vroom was instructed by supervisors to release aliens convicted of ID theft felonies in Arizona, at odds with previous ICE policy memoranda on the topic.
Sarah Hartnett, another senior ICE official “explained that as these were ‘low-level’ offenders…since the typical alien defendant convicted under these provisions of Arizona criminal law had simply been using a fake I.D. to get and keep employment.
Vroom was instructed to drop the cases and later mocked for considering the decision a serious legal precedent, the filing said.
Regarding the alien found to have registered to vote twice illegally, Vroom recounts how she was pressured to drop removal proceedings.
According to the filing, ICE official Matt Downer asked Vroom how she planned to handle the situation. Vroom said she would agree to cancel the alien’s deportation, but Downer wrote back, “think again.”
“Realizing she had not arrived at the “correct” answer as to how she should apply ‘prosecutorial discretion,’ Plaintiff then suggested the case be dismissed without prejudice, to which Mr. Downer replied, ‘Agreed,’”
However, a short time later, Downer wrote back to urge an even more lenient course of action.
“Re reading this – dismiss with prejudice,” Downer wrote, according to the filing.
Dismissing the case with prejudice would leave the government unable to prosecute the individual for the crime in the future if he was subsequently detained for another reason.
“This instruction was legally unjustifiable and arguably unethical. No reasonable government attorney would unnecessarily prejudice his or her prosecuting client’s interests by requesting that a court dismiss a matter with prejudice when it could be, and normally would be, dismissed without prejudice,” the filing said.
Vroom also detailed alleged ageism and sexism in the complaint and said Vincent made unwanted advances on female employees, making them feel uncomfortable. In one case, Vroom counseled a young woman to tell the then-married Vincent in an e-mail, “Please leave me alone, Peter. You are old enough to be my father,” which seemed to resolve the situation.
-Courtesy of Breitbart