U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is a component of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that is responsible for immigration enforcement and removal operations. Federal law requires ICE and other federal agencies to provide special protection to unaccompanied immigrant children, as described here.

In response to our FOIA request seeking records related to the abuse or mistreatment of children while in DHS custody, ICE produced about 3,000 pages of documents (the “ICE production”). ICE’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) has the authority to both investigate complaints and administer discipline.[1] When children filed complaints with CBP’s Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) and/or DHS’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG), these oversight entities referred some of those complaints to ICE OPR for investigation and discipline. In its response to our FOIA, ICE does not clarify or explain the criteria or bases for these referrals.

The ICE production includes internal agency records documenting referrals from other DHS components and ICE’s limited investigations into those referrals. This production also contains the only disciplinary record we received in response to our FOIA: two documents referring to a single 2008 incident in which an ICE agent verbally abused minors. Click here and here to view these documents.

The disciplined agent told child detainees he was transporting to “shut the fuck up” and threatened that “if I hear any shit in the van I’m going to smash your fucking faces in.” As a result of that incident, the agent was transferred to a different, non-law enforcement job but remained employed by DHS.

To view the documents obtained by our Freedom of Information Act request, go to bit.ly/ice-foias.

[1] Pivotal Practices Consulting LLC, CBP, Complaints and Discipline Systems Review: Public Report of Findings and Recommendations 29 (Nov. 23, 2015), https://www.cbp.gov/sites/default/files/assets/documents/2016-Mar/cbp-complaint-discipline-system-review.pdf.

Records received from each DHS sub-agency can be accessed here: