"ICE is out of control," goes the headline at Slate. "Donald Trump's ICE is tearing families apart," goes the headline at the New Yorker. "ICE wants to deport the caregiver of a 6-year-old paraplegic boy," goes the headline at Daily Kos. "ICE targets sanctuary cities, arrests 33 in Northwest," goes the headline at NPR.
Reading these stories, we learn that ICE just arrested a 55-year-old chemistry professor in Lawrence, Kansas, who's lived in this country for 31 years and has three children, all of whom are American citizens; according to the Washington Post, he was arrested on his front lawn in front of his children, and his wife was threatened with arrest if she tried to hug her husband goodbye. We learn that after ICE moved to deport a married man in Arizona who now has five children, one of whom has leukemia, the father was forced to take refuge in a church with his ailing son. We learn that ICE denied an appeal from an Ohio man who is a specially trained caregiver for a 6-year-old paraplegic boy who depends on his care. We learn that ICE ordered an HIV-positive gay man in Miami deported to Venezuela, a country in a state of economic collapse; since the man won't be able to get the medications he needs to keep him alive, his deportation amounts to a death sentence.
Every day ICE rounds up more and more law-abiding but undocumented residents of the United States, many of whom were brought here as children. "ICE made a hundred and forty thousand arrests last year, an increase of thirty per cent compared to the year before, and the number of so-called non-criminal arrests has doubled," reports the New Yorker about Trump's first year in office.
ICE tosses men, women, and children into for-profit prisons before sending them back to countries where they may have no family and, in many cases, don't speak the language. ICE is tearing American families apart and destroying children's lives. "Researchers have found that [the American children of deportees] often bounce around among relatives, suffer in school and display self-destructive behaviors, such as cutting themselves," New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof has written.
We write and we talk about ICE like it's a natural disaster—like it's a hurricane or an earthquake or a wildfire. This terrible thing happened because of ICE, that terrible thing happened because of ICE. But ICE isn't an impersonal, uncontrollable, unaccountable force of nature. ICE, like corporations or Soylent Green, is people. ICE is people who are being paid to do unbelievably cruel things to other people. And if you're a US taxpayer, these unbelievably cruel things are being done in your name and on your dime. The ICE agents who threatened to arrest that chemistry professor's wife if she tried to hug him goodbye? Those people work for you.
ICE is not a force of nature. It is not a faceless, malevolent force. It's a US federal law enforcement agency under the jurisdiction of the Department of Homeland Security. ICE has an annual budget of $5.34 billion, the agency employs more than 20,000 people, and as a matter of policy this agency ships deportees out of this country in shackles. ICE is headquartered in Washington, DC, it has more than 400 field offices across the country, and 24 of those field offices are Enforcement and Removal Operation (ERO) centers. One of ICE's ERO centers is located in Seattle. The acting head of the Seattle ERO office is not an unknown bureaucrat, but an actual human being with a name: Marc J. Moore.
And you know what? Fuck that guy. Fuck Marc J. Moore.
Marc J. Moore arrived in Seattle in November. He came from Miami, where he headed a field office down there. Regional field office directors enjoy broad discretionary powers. They pick and choose who gets arrested, who gets deported, and who winds up forced to sit in their own waste on an airplane.
While Moore was in charge in Florida, his officers bound and shackled 92 Somalians and put them on a plane. These men and women sat restrained for nearly two days, as their plane was unable to land in Somalia due to technical issues. It landed in Senegal instead, for a 20-hour layover, before the plane was rerouted back to Florida. "The Somalis reported being shackled and beaten by ICE agents and forced to stay seated during the entire 48-hour episode," according to the ACLU. One of the passengers on that plane, Rahim Mohamed, "who has diabetes, stated he was denied access to the restroom on the flight and was forced to urinate in bottles and, when he ran out of bottles, on himself. Being shackled the entire time left his legs severely swollen and he sustained an injury to his hand when an ICE agent twisted it. Rahim recounted the humiliation and physical abuse on the plane, including instances of ICE agents choking a man and throwing another on the floor, resulting in visible, bloody injury, as 'inhumane, like we were slaves or something.'"
When the Somalians arrived back in Florida, the field office run by Marc J. Moore moved to deport them again, back to a country where they will face grave danger due to "the severe escalation of anti-West terrorist violence in Somalia in recent weeks," according to a motion filed by the ACLU in US District Court in the Southern District of Florida.
Also during Moore's tenure in Miami: a detainee sued ICE for allegedly allowing a guard to beat him in an elevator, and the ACLU sued Moore "in his capacity as Field Office Director for the ICE Miami office," seeking the release of a transgender woman from Haiti who was a legal resident of the United States. Moore's office had the woman arrested and held her in prison for more than a year before the ACLU stepped in.
And this motherfucker—excuse me: this public servant—is now running the ICE field office here in Seattle. Not that ICE wants you to know much about him. The Stranger confirmed with Lori K. Haley, a public affairs officer for ICE's western region, that Moore was temporarily assigned to head Seattle's office sometime in December. When asked for Moore's specific start date, Haley said by phone that she would have to get back to us. She did not return a follow-up email, so we called Yasmeen Pitts O'Keefe, another public affairs officer. She was less helpful than Haley, demanding to know why we wanted to know when Moore arrived in Seattle. Since then, ICE has not responded to The Stranger's requests for comment.
In mid-January, after Moore had been in Seattle approximately a month, Seattle's ICE field office initiated deportation proceedings against Maru Mora Villalpando, one of the most vocal local defenders of immigrants. Villalpando, an openly undocumented Mexican native, spoke up in defense of hunger-striking detainees at the Northwest Detention Center, a private prison in Tacoma where ICE warehouses prisoners.
Once again, ICE regional field office directors enjoy broad discretionary powers—so if ICE is going after Villalpando to punish her for speaking out, the agency is presumably doing so on Moore's orders. We'd ask the public affairs officers at ICE to confirm whether it was Moore who ordered local ICE agents to target Villalpando, but they're not returning our calls anymore.
The men and women (but mostly men) of ICE weren't exactly sitting on their hands during the Obama administration—the ACLU sued Marc J. Moore in 2012—but things have gotten much worse under Donald Trump. And the men and women (but mostly men) of ICE aren't targeting the people Trump promised to go after during the campaign or in his recent State of the Union address, e.g., gang members, violent felons, and sexual predators.
"When Donald Trump and members of his administration claim [ICE] is using American taxpayer resources to prioritize dangerous people and 'bad hombres' for arrest and deportation, they're lying to you," Gabe Ortíz writes at Daily Kos. "Since Trump unshackled his mass deportation agents via executive order after taking office last year, the largest surge in ICE arrests haven't been people who pose a risk to public safety."
They've been people who simply don't have documentation—people like Jesus Berrones, the Arizona man who was brought to this country when he was a year old and is now a married father of five US citizens, including a young son with leukemia. It's people like Ricardo Querales in Florida, the HIV-positive gay man from Venezuela whose request for asylum was approved in 2003 but who then had one run-in with the law during a low point in his life (drug possession) before getting his life back on track; Querales now faces a death sentence in the form of a deportation order.
"ICE is ramping up its mass raids in an effort to spread paranoia and uncertainty in cities with large undocumented populations," Jamelle Bouie writes at Slate. "The agency is deliberately targeting these 'sanctuary cities,' hoping to compel cooperation with their newly aggressive enforcement operations. This is all part of a larger strategy to create an atmosphere of fear and desperation for unauthorized immigrants."
It's not just undocumented immigrants, their partners, and their children that the women and (mostly) men of ICE are trying to intimidate. Thomas Homan, the acting director of ICE—Marc J. Moore's boss—has called for the arrest and prosecution of elected officials in sanctuary cities like Seattle. I don't know if ICE has the authority to arrest Mayor Jenny Durkan for refusing to cooperate with the Trump administration, but if it came to that, the order to arrest Durkan would presumably come from Moore. We learned late last week that Durkan issued new protocols for all city departments after Seattle's ICE field office, under Moore's direction, demanded information about a Seattle City Light customer: "[All] department heads must refer any request [from ICE] for 'access to non-public areas in City buildings and venues' and 'actions seeking data or information (written or oral) about City employees, residents or workers' to her office," as David Kroman reported at Crosscut.
What's the goal here? It's not about making America greater or safer or richer. It's about making America whiter. Donald Trump, Stephen Miller, John Kelly, Paul Ryan, and Mitch McConnell all hope to make America as white as possible, for as long as possible.
"The White House is assertively working to make America white again," as Steve Phillips wrote on the opinion pages of the New York Times recently. "The aggressive pace of deportations of immigrants of color, the elimination of the DACA program protecting immigrant children and the proposals propounded by the anti-immigration voices in the administration will all have the undeniable effect of slowing the rapid racial diversification of the United States population."
This is a campaign to de-brown this country, to first round up undocumented immigrants—like that chemistry professor in Kansas—before moving on to the DREAMers, while at the same time pushing for "reforms" that will radically decrease the numbers of non-white people allowed to immigrate to the United States.
While the media is doing a good job of putting a human face on the victims of the Trump administration's policies on immigration, it is failing to hold accountable the men and women (but mostly men) carrying out Trump's policies. And just as AIDS activists in the 1980s named and shamed the formerly anonymous bureaucrats who headed up the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and other federal agencies, the time has come to name and shame the currently anonymous bureaucrats at ICE. Like AIDS activists in the 1980s, we will have to be impolite in the face of this evil.
Marc J. Moore isn't a mere cog in ICE's administrative machinery. He directs the local agents who are right now terrorizing undocumented immigrants and their families in our community. Moore will oversee the arrests and deportations of DREAMers in Seattle after DACA expires on March 5. If Moore's boss gives an order to arrest the mayor of our sanctuary city—not sure how that would work or of it would even be legal—it's Moore who would order local ICE agents to arrest Jenny Durkan. (Anything is possible in Trump world.) Undocumented immigrants and their families are living in fear right now because of the decisions Moore has already made, and they live in fear of the decisions he might make after March 5.
Moore doesn't deserve to be anonymous any more than James O. Mason, who was head of the Centers for Disease Control in 1988, deserved to be anonymous.
Remember Marc J. Moore's face.
And remember: he's a public servant, you pay his salary, he works for you. Marc J. Moore should know what the people he works for in this sanctuary city think of him and the job he was sent here to do. If you should encounter Marc J. Moore when he's not at work—if you see him at the grocery store or sitting on an airplane or waiting for a table in a restaurant—seize the opportunity to tell Moore what you think of ICE, of Donald Trump, and of him. Don't break the law, of course, and don't interfere with Moore if he's on official business (aka terrorizing your undocumented friends, neighbors, coworkers, and lovers). Don't obstruct justice. But if you should see him in line at Starbucks or waiting to board a plane at Sea-Tac, you can and you should exercise your constitutional right to tell Marc J. Moore to go fuck himself.
Will Moore wind up feeling uncomfortable as he moves through his daily routine if enough people in this sanctuary city confront him? Yes, he will. But his discomfort is nothing compared to the fear being experienced right now, as a direct result of his actions, by undocumented immigrants, their spouses, and their children.
"My parents are just scared," Edgar, a 15-year-old high school student who was brought to the United States as an infant, told KUOW's Liz Jones. "They're trying to just keep me away from trouble or anything that would involve the authorities.... I have two sisters now, but they were both born here in Seattle. I'd rather have myself be taken away than my sisters. I'd rather see them have a good life than me. I'm trying to keep a positive look into this, but yeah, inside I was just like, 'Oh, we're doomed.'"
Our undocumented friends, neighbors, and coworkers are afraid to leave their houses, afraid to drop their kids off at schools, afraid to go to the authorities if they're victimized. As a result, our undocumented friends, coworkers, and neighbors are increasingly vulnerable to exploitation, to wage theft, to sexual assault, and to blackmail. Parents and children like Edgar live in fear of having their lives and their families destroyed by Marc J. Moore. All Moore has to fear is someone telling him to go fuck himself at QFC.
One more time: Marc J. Moore is a public servant and we have a constitutional right—at least as of this writing—to tell public servants like Marc J. Moore what we think of them and what we think of the jobs they're doing, and we are free to express our opinions outside of town hall meetings and feedback forms on government websites. When Ady Barkin, a 33-year-old man from Arizona with ALS, saw Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AR) on a flight to Phoenix from Washington, DC, last year, Barkin confronted Flake—forcefully but respectfully—about the GOP tax bill, the passage of which would likely result in cuts to services Barkin needs to survive. Barkin was able to confront Flake because he recognized Flake. The video went viral.
We can tell Marc J. Moore what we think of him. We can record it. We can upload it. We all pay his salary—and that "we" includes undocumented immigrants like Edgar's parents. The IRS estimates that undocumented immigrants pay $9 billion in federal payroll taxes every year on top of the $13 billion they pour into the Social Security system annually. The undocumented immigrants in our community paying Moore's salary can't risk telling him to go fuck himself. The rest of us can. Yesterday you didn't know what Marc J. Moore looks like. Today you do.
Marc J. Moore shouldn't be able to walk into a bar or a restaurant in this city—in this sanctuary city—without being confronted by angry citizens. You can tell Marc J. Moore to go fuck himself or you can engage with Moore respectfully and civilly, in the same manner that Ady Barkin confronted Jeff Flake. Both are legal, both are lawful.
Moore and the other public employees perpetuating some of the worst and cruelest abuses of the Trump regime can't be able to do so anonymously. The men and women of ICE should be ashamed of themselves. Their families should be ashamed of them. Their neighbors and communities should be ashamed of them. And they should know we're ashamed of them.
As mentioned, Marc J. Moore moved to the Seattle area in December. We don't know how long Moore will be here. We do know Moore isn't wanted here. He deserves no sanctuary.