Tom Tancredo reports on corruption at the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement — and the continued plight of agent Cory Voorhis (via WND):
The federal government’s continued persecution of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ICE, agent Cory Voorhis should alarm all Americans. Voorhis has been targeted for removal from his job because he dared to blow the whistle on politicians who were scheming with ICE bureaucrats to help criminal aliens avoid deportation – hundreds of them.
Voorhis went public in September 2006 with facts about the plea-bargaining practices of former Denver District attorney Bill Ritter, who happened to also be a candidate for governor of Colorado. During Ritter’s tenure as district attorney, 241 illegal aliens were given sweetheart deals for the explicit purpose of helping them minimize the risk of deportation. Some of them went on to commit other, more serious crimes, and when one of those cases was made public with Voorhis’ help, he was targeted for criminal investigation at the behest of the Ritter for Governor campaign.
Voorhis deserved a medal for his actions, but instead he was charged with violations of federal criminal law and then removed from his job after a federal court jury acquitted him of all charges after only two hours of deliberation. ICE managers were so embarrassed by this reversal, they launched a two-year effort to have him fired despite that acquittal. It has now been revealed that agency managers gave false testimony against Voorhis at his trial, yet no one at the top levels of the Department of Homeland Security had the courage to put a stop to the vendetta.
Voorhis has incurred more than $500,000 in legal bills and there is still no end in sight. His petition for reinstatement is now under review by an administrative judge attached to the Merit Systems Protection Board.
What is going on here? Why does ICE persist in trying to destroy a man whose only controversial action was to bring to the public’s attention information on certain criminal aliens already available to any enterprising reporter?
Aha! There’s the rub. If enterprising reporters started digging into the records of the plea-bargaining practices of prosecutors in sanctuary cities like Denver and San Francisco, who knows what mischief might ensue? In the agency’s view, Voorhis must be punished for throwing a huge public spotlight on these practices.
In retrospect, it is clear ICE overreacted. No reporter has bothered to look into the case histories of the other 240 plea-bargain cases uncovered in 2008. In fact, those 241 cases were only a sampling from a five-year period and were only the cases where “agricultural trespass” was used as the lesser offense to avoid deportation. Most likely there were more than 1,000 cases of sweetheart plea bargains for illegal aliens under Ritter’s tenure as Denver district attorney. How many exist in other cities? How many times have ICE legal staff – in Denver and elsewhere – assisted in the obstruction of our criminal-alien deportation laws?
The story has legs because President Obama has nominated one Stephanie Villafuerte as the next US attorney for Colorado. Villafuerte, as Tancredo points out, was the person on gubernatorial candidate Bill Ritter’s campaign team who made the first call in September 2006 to the Denver D.A.’s office to inquire about the illegal alien mentioned in the newspapers stories; was the person also on a leave of absence from the Denver D.A.’s office to work in the Ritter campaign; was rewarded with a job as a principal deputy to Governor Ritter; and was the point person on immigration matters.
In a related matter, the Denver Post reported last week that a Denver ICE supervisor lied in Voorhis’s case — and has been given a pass by federal prosecutors:
An internal investigation has determined that a supervisor in Denver’s immigration enforcement office “gave false testimony” during the trial of an agent charged with unlawfully accessing a federal criminal database and releasing information to Bob Beauprez’s gubernatorial campaign.
Tony Rouco, who supervised U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Cory Voorhis, “willfully gave false testimony under oath” at Voorhis’ trial last year, according to the April 2009 investigation report. He also made false statements to the FBI and ICE’s Office of Professional Responsibility and failed to report employee misconduct, it states.
Even so, it appears Rouco has never been disciplined and he remains on the job, which at times requires him to swear under oath in court or when signing court papers. Although his alleged misconduct was reported to federal prosecutors, they declined to treat it as a crime.
A statement from ICE said the agency “cannot discuss internal administrative issues regarding its employees. However, ICE holds all its employees to the highest standards of ethics and professional behavior.”
Rouco did not return calls for comment.
It’s been more than 18 months since a federal jury found Voorhis not guilty of improperly accessing a federal criminal-records database and providing information to the Republican Beauprez’s campaign, and three years since the controversy first erupted. Yet the repercussions are still being felt within Denver’s ICE office. Voorhis, who officially lost his job in February, has appealed his termination, and Rouco is expected to testify for the government.
The Homeland Security Department has been notified of this and other acts of misconduct, ethics violations, and failures of leadership (pdf file) by ICE in the mishandling of Voorhis’s case.
Ben DeGrow: “Precisely what role did Stephanie Villafuerte play in the whole Cory Voorhis affair? And what were her motivations? If she is going to be the next U.S. Attorney for Colorado, citizens of our state deserve to know.”
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