DearColleague.us

Letter

Karen Bass

From the office of:

Karen Bass


Sending Office: Honorable Karen Bass
Sent By:
Zach.Seidl@mail.house.gov

        Request for Signature(s)

 Last call to become a signatory

Current Signers (15): Karen Bass, Al Green (TX), Pramila Jayapal, André Carson, Eddie Bernice Johnson, Brenda L. Lawrence, James P. McGovern, Ro Khanna, José E. Serrano, Raul Grijalva, Judy Chu, Mark DeSaulnier, Nydia Velázquez, Barbara
Lee, Jan Schakowsky

Dear Colleague,

On January 10, 2018, 98 7-Eleven stores in 17 states (California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington State and Washington, D.C.)
were raided by United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Officers. After this operation served to disturb and disrupt many hundreds of 7-Eleven employees and store-owners, of whom were legal residents and citizens attempting to earn a living,
the visits resulted in less than 25 arrests of working people on suspicion of being in the country illegally.

In response and possible justification to public outcry, ICE responded with statements that could only be interpreted by businesses and their patrons as direct threats. The Acting Director of ICE stated that the operation was designed to “send a strong message
to U.S. businesses” while another top ICE official announced that these visits were “a harbinger of what’s to come.” ICE also stated that this raid was “follow up” to an operation executed in Long Island and Virginia 5 years ago.

As a Member who represents one of the stores that was raided, I find this language not only unacceptable, but quite dangerous. I invite you to join me in sending the attached letter to the Acting Director of ICE urging him to provide further justification
for these raids and to retract ICE’s threats on our communities. To sign on, or if you have questions, please contact Zach Seidl
at Zachary.Seidl@mail.house.gov.

Sincerely,

Karen Bass

Member of Congress           

January XX, 2018

The Honorable Thomas D. Homan 
Deputy Director and Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Director
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Washington, D.C. 20528

Dear Deputy Director Homan,

We, as Members of Congress increasingly concerned by your department’s actions earlier this month, write to you requesting a full explanation of your audits of 7-Eleven stores throughout the country that were said to be “follow up” on exercises executed
nearly five years ago.   

Before the crack of dawn on January 10, 2018, 98 7-Eleven stores nationwide were descended upon by United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Officers. After this meticulously choreographed, taxpayer-funded operation served to disturb and disrupt
many hundreds of 7-Eleven employees and store-owners, of whom were legal residents and citizens attempting to earn a living, your raid resulted in less than 25 arrests of working people on suspicion of being in the country illegally.  

In response and possible justification to public outcry, ICE responded with statements that could only be interpreted by businesses and their patrons as direct threats. You yourself wrote in a statement for ICE that this operation was designed to “send a
strong message to U.S. businesses” while another top ICE official announced that these visits were “a harbinger of what’s to come.” 

We are deeply troubled by this language.

ICE Officers have a mission to promote homeland security and public safety, not to act as an arm of the government designed to intimidate and harass business owners, their employees or their patrons, and certainly not to use raids as a threat of “what’s
to come.”

Our country is strong because of the public documents that protect us from threats like those. The fourth amendment to the Constitution specifically affords us, including businesses in our districts, shelter from unreasonable searches and seizures.  Pre-dawn
ambushes have no place in our districts, nor in our country.

Your threats, designed to maliciously terrorize people and businesses, are perhaps most startling when contextualized by the fact that only 21 people were arrested by the end of the exercise. We have trouble seeing how an operation executed in Long Island
and Virginia 5 years ago relates to this month’s disturbance of nearly 100 stores in 17 states. It seems to us that either your department was given erroneous evidence that you then misjudged and acted upon, or there was no evidence to begin with, and yet
you decided to raid these stores anyways. 

Regardless of which scenario occurred, the fact is that individuals working in 7-Elevens in California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas,
Washington State or Washington, D.C. should not be the top priority of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Our limited resources must not be spent to advance a political agenda rather than ensure our security. 

We, as concerned Members of Congress, many of whom represent the very communities in which the stores you shook down operate, demand explanation and justification for your department’s actions on that day. 

We hope that this letter sends you and your department a “strong message” and serves as “a harbinger of what’s to come” should your threats against establishments in our communities persist. 

Sincerely,

Members of Congress

Related Legislative Issues

Selected legislative information:Homeland Security, Immigration, Intelligence, Judiciary

icon eDC logo e-Dear Colleague version 2.0