Cross posted from The Blog @ Homeland Security.
Today, I am honored to be named U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)’s first-ever public advocate. As ICE continues to implement detention reforms and other enforcement-related initiatives, my staff and I will serve as a point of contact for individuals, including those in immigration proceedings, NGOs, and other community and advocacy groups, who have concerns, questions, recommendations or important issues they would like to raise.
While this new role will be challenging, I believe it will reap significant rewards for ICE as well as for stakeholders. As we work to enact significant policy changes to focus the agency’s immigration enforcement resources on sensible priorities, implement policies and processes that prioritize the health and safety of detainees in our custody while increasing federal oversight, and improve the conditions of confinement within the detention system, I will strive to expand and enhance our dialogue with the stakeholder community.
I have committed the greater part of my life to public service. Since 2008, I have served with ICE, first as an advisor and analyst on policies related to immigration enforcement, detention and juveniles, and most recently as the senior advisor for Enforcement and Removal Operation’s (ERO) detention management division. Prior to that, I served as an attorney and was recognized as the Maryland Attorney of the Year for Pro Bono Service working with Community Legal Services of Prince George’s County.
In my new position, I will have four main duties:
- Assist individuals and community stakeholders in addressing complaints and concerns in accordance with agency policies and operations, particularly concerns related to ICE enforcement actions that affect U.S. citizens;
- Inform stakeholders on ERO policies, programs and initiatives, and enhance understanding of ERO’s mission and core values;
- Engage stakeholders and build partnerships to facilitate communication, foster collaboration and solicit input on immigration enforcement initiatives and operations; and
- Advise ICE leadership on stakeholder findings, concerns, recommendations and priorities as they relate to improving immigration enforcement efforts and activities.
I am thrilled to assume this new role and proud of this agency for valuing community input and emphasizing transparency and accessibility as ICE continues to pursue common sense enforcement priorities and sound policy reforms. I hope you’ll reach out to me with your questions, comments and concerns. I am here to assist you.
Andrew Lorenzen-Strait is Public Advocate & Senior Advisor for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.