Spero News

Trump administration cracks down on Hatch Act violations at immigration agencies
After being found that she had repeatedly told co-workers at Immigration and Customs Enforcement to vote for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential ...
Tuesday, August 07, 2018
by Martin Barillas

After being found that she had repeatedly told co-workers at Immigration and Customs Enforcement to vote for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential race, an ICE employee is facing a five-year ban on federal employment. This came as part of a settlement reached between the Office of Special Counsel and the unnamed employee. The OSC enforces the Hatch Act, which ostensibly forbids federal employees from engaging in certain political activities while at work. The employee has resigned.

According to the OSC announcement, the employee posted more than 100 social media messages in support of Democrat candidate Clinton  while on the job or in her workplace between March and November 2016. According to OSC, she discussed Clinton with her coworkers, invited them to rallies and  encouraging them to vote for Clinton. 

The federal employee continued to encourage co-workers to vote for Clinton despite receiving annual Hatch Act training and guidance. The employee allegedly had “significant” knowledge of the Hatch Act. According to OSC, she even continued the prohibited political activity even after her first interview with OSC. The enforcement removal assistant has worked in the federal government since 2000. 

According to a release, Special Counsel Henry J. Kerner said, “When a federal employee emphatically and repeatedly engages in political activity while on duty or in the workplace, OSC takes that very seriously.” Kerner said, “This employee thumbed her nose at the law and engaged in vocal partisan politics both with her colleagues and on social media.”

Kerner advised employees to be mindful of the ICE employee’s mistakes with the upcoming midterm election approaching. The employee agreed to resign as part of her settlement.

This is the second time over the last few weeks that OSC has enforced the Hatch Act for those voicing allegedly inappropriate support for Clinton. It cracked down, for instance, on Carmene “Zsa Zsa” DePaolo -- an immigration judge -- who was alleged to have voiced support for Clinton during a 2016 open deportation hearing.

DePaolo said then that a possible 10-year ban on reentry to the country for an illegal alien was “a pretty harsh thing,” adding that Clinton was planning to change the policy. The judge said that could change if “the Senate becomes a Democratic body and there’s some hope that they can actually pass immigration legislation.” DePaulo said that Republicans “aren’t going to do anything” about immigration “if they can help it,” other than to “try to deport everybody.” 

According to a release from DePaolo's attorney, Carol Gillam, DePaolo works at a detention facility on the California border with Mexico. The release said that DePaolo "vigorously denies the charges" cited by OSC. Gillam's release stated: "Judge DePaolo merely made statements of fact during a 2016 hearing when she was deporting a Mexican citizen. She understood it to be her obligation to advise the person being deported, who had no lawyer, of the factual consequences of his deportation. He was a young man who had grown up in the United States, and had no right to vote. He was being deported for a minimum of ten years. Judge DePaolo simply informed the young man of what the two major party candidates claimed they would do about the immigration laws if elected. There were no citizens in the courtroom. The only other person present was a government lawyer."

Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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