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La Migra wants snitches

by Mike Madden Tuesday, Aug. 08, 2006 at 2:23 PM

Isn't this what Hitler did? Turn in a Jew for a cash reward? Now George W. Hitler says turn in a Mexican and get a cash reward. Gee how history repeats its self!

La Migra wants snitches!!!!!

Immigration agencies to pay their informers

WASHINGTON - Help bust a company for employing undocumented immigrants, and you could get cash from the federal government in return.

The agencies charged with patrolling the border and enforcing immigration laws, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection, plan to spend million paying informers next year, with the goal of infiltrating criminal gangs that smuggle drugs, weapons and people into the country.

Authorities say informers provide invaluable help for agents, making them an important weapon for immigration enforcement. But officials wouldn't provide many details of how compensation works because of the confidential nature of informer assignments.





"We always welcome tips from the public, including calls to our hotline (1-866-347-2423)," ICE spokesman Dean Boyd said.

Still, the amount spent on informers represents only a fraction of the Department of Homeland Security's nearly billion budget for next year, and some critics think the government needs to do more to get inside information about smuggling, document forgery and other crimes tied to illegal immigration.

"(The Bush administration is) not requesting enough (money) for anything from Congress," said Michael Cutler, a senior fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies, a think tank in Washington, D.C., that advocates reducing illegal and legal immigration.

"Informers are a component of interior enforcement; they're a component of border enforcement as well," said Cutler, a former Immigration and Naturalization Service agent. "If you don't have the informers, you're flying blind, and we have an administration and politicians who want to make immigration enforcement as blind and as castrated as possible."

Congress has budgeted ICE and CBP million a year each to pay informers since the agencies were established in 2003. How CBP uses its allocation is unclear, because ICE runs nearly all the investigations into cross-border crime. CBP spokesman Mike Friel said the agency did not have any information about cases where Border Patrol agents or others have paid informers.

Meanwhile, critics say ICE needs more money to help provide a credible threat of prosecution for companies that employ undocumented workers. By contrast, the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration and Marshals Service have a combined budget of more than million for informers and purchases of evidence.

"The number (for ICE) is very low if you're interested in actually accomplishing your mission," said T.J. Bonner, president of the National Border Patrol Council, which represents Border Patrol agents.

The agency has tried to tighten its controls over informers since a 2004 incident when a man working as a confidential tipster for ICE's El Paso office took part in several killings for Mexican drug cartels. Regulations require supervisors to be involved in handling undercover informers and limit the amount of money that can be paid for work on a single case to 0,000.

Paid informers are used more in drug cases or smuggling cases than in immigration investigations. But officials said they have been involved in some recent immigration busts, including the investigation into IFCO Systems facilities throughout the country in April that led to nearly 1,200 arrests in 26 states,including Arizona.

Court documents filed in that case show agents used an informer who had entered the United States illegally and been caught by the Border Patrol. ICE agents provided him with temporary permission to work legally in the country while he assisted in their investigations.

Agents took him to Guilderland, N.Y., to see if he could get a job at an IFCO facility there even though he told the company he was in the country illegally. Before that investigation, the informer had worked on a case involving a human smuggling ring in Texas, court records show.

The records don't say how much the informer was paid, and ICE officials declined to elaborate. But he worked at IFCO, under ICE's instructions, from May 2005 until January.

"Informers aren't pretty," Cutler said. "You're getting people to rat out their friends and associates, but they become our eyes and ears in law enforcement. We need informers to tell us about the bad guys."

Reach the reporter at mmadden@gannett.com or 1-(202)-906-8123.

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