CREW requests DHS Secretary for Investigation into ICE Efforts to Release Kidnap Victim
Washington, D.C. – Today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff asking for an investigation into Immigration and Custom Enforcement’s (ICE) recent efforts in procuring the release of a Mexican woman kidnapped in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.
Earlier this week, a sensitive memo prepared by Donald Bruckschen in ICE Office of International Affairs to ICE Assistant Secretary Julie Myers was leaked, detailing ICE’s role in the matter. On June 19, 2008, ICE was contacted by an aide to Cong. Silvestre Reyes (D-TX), chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence for assistance in procuring the release of Erika Posselt, a relative of his wife who had been kidnapped from an auto glass store she owned in Mexico.
ICE officials contacted Mexican authorities to coordinate efforts to recover Ms. Posselt. ICE authorities met with Mexican authorities in El Paso to map out a strategy and Washington, D.C. officials offered technical assistance. On June 22nd, Ms. Posselt and another hostage were released. Ms. Posselt was transported to the United States.
CREW is asking Secretary Chertoff to immediately order an inquiry into the circumstances surrounding ICE’s involvement in the matter to determine the nature of the inquiry by Cong. Reyes’ office, whether ICE had the legal authority to intercede in this matter, why ICE chose to get involved in this matter, whether the State Department was consulted, and whether ICE has offered assistance in other cases involving foreign nationals kidnapped on foreign soil.
CREW’s executive director Melanie Sloan stated, “While the release of any kidnapping victim is always a positive development, this matter raises serious questions about whether ICE acted appropriately here.” Sloan continued, “Did ICE officials assist in resolving a foreign kidnapping simply because the victim is related to a powerful member of Congress? While Congressman Reyes undoubtedly was overwhelmed by concern for his relative, officials with more objectivity should have been considering the greater political and policy issues raised by ICE’s intercession.”