Matt Cameron Profile picture
Apr 2, 2018 15 tweets 8 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
I am proud to announce that I have been certified "dangerous and unprofessional" by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and I'm pleased to say that the feeling is mutual.
To be clear: the U.S. government believes it was "dangerous and unprofessional" of me to tell the story of a single mother arbitrarily detained by #ICE with no thought for her 8-year-old son, and to request support for her from my fellow citizens.

I have a problem with this.
ADDENDUM: Author requested that #ICE contact local @AILANational chapter to "share these concerns." ICE AILA liaison called later that week to inform me that #ICE believed that I was "endangering officer safety"... advocating for public to call #ICE to support a client.
1/ FOLLOWUP THREAD: Why *was* #ICE so concerned about 1 attorney posting on FB re: 1 client's unjust detention & encouraging calls for release? Why loop in the Field Office Director & AILA to claim that I was endangering officers?

I have some thoughts.

#AbolishICE #not1more
2/ For context, here are my "dangerous and unprofessional" posts from day of #FreeSiham's arrest. 1st while still sitting in the #ICE office w/in minutes, 2nd after speaking with my client a few hrs later.

I stand by everything I wrote--as an attorney, an advocate, & an ally.
3/ News spread through several large concentric social circles very quickly, and most of #Boston organized left was ready to #FreeSiham by the end of the day. Protests and rallies mobilized quickly. Calls to #ICE for her release were constant, jamming up their lines for weeks.
4/ I was especially energized about #FreeSiham b/c of how she was singled out for harsh enforcement. Anyone in her situation typically gets time to leave the U.S. voluntarily. She got handcuffs--and the terror of not knowing who would be there for her son after school that day
5/ #ICE has shed any remaining humanity and is now unaccountable as a matter of *policy* in Trump era with no discretion ever, for *anyone.* I know from experience that they will ignore even strong, joint, public support from Congressional reps in support of a deportation case.
6/ If they won't listen to our elected representatives, we have no choice but to make them accountable to *us.* All Americans (and anyone living in this country) has a right to an opinion about this. We pay their salaries as they arrest & detain innocents in our names.
7/ I decided that this was a story that people needed to know, and I knew my client well enough to know that she would want everyone to hear it ASAP. So I told it, with a call for action.

This is not something that attorneys are "supposed" to do.

[But *what if we did*]
8/ As officers of the court, there is a natural sort of conservatism among attorneys (even the more radically-minded) to play the game, follow the rules, & go along to get along. I have certainly done it myself. It's how we're trained. But sometimes zealous advocacy demands more.
9/ Look: If I'd doxed my client's #ICE officer--well, sure, that's "dangerous" and absolutely "unprofessional." I would never do that, & would expect consequences if I did. But I didn't. I provided his last name and the general office number, and encouraged calls. That's it.
10/ As #immigration attys, we bear witness to enforcement which is now engaging in open, brutal displays of authoritarianism. Is there a point at which my silence on 1 case in (misplaced) hopes that they'll work with me on the next become complicity?

I've decided that there is.
11/ I will *not* stay silent & allow my client to be deceived into deportation.

I will not be gaslit into agreeing that I am "unprofessional" for encouraging peaceful direct action when system has betrayed my clients.

And I will not apologize for calling it when I see it.
12/ To all who have supported #ICE campaigns: The terror you see in this email--the dreaded *possibility* of having to deal with your collective voice--is real. It's working. Keep calling.

To my fellow lawyers: Let's get "dangerous and unprofessional." It's time.


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More from @matt_cam

Sep 25, 2018
1/ One of the worst parts of the proposed new DHS "public charge" rule would resurrect a 400-yr-old idea, punish lower-income immigrants, AND deliver a massive new giveaway to Wall Street.

Not seeing much out there on this piece right now, so here's what you need to know:
2/ The idea of a "public charge bond" goes back to the earliest colonial days. If someone coming over from Europe didn't seem like they would be able to support themselves, the ship's captain would have to put up a given amount of money to keep them off the dole or take them back
3/ As part of the "Passenger Cases," SCOTUS struck down the city of Boston's attempt to collect public charge bonds from ship captains as unconstitutional in 1849, finding that only the federal government had this kind of power. But it didn't actually exercise it until 1882.
Read 16 tweets
Aug 27, 2018
Appalling, but no surprise here.

No member of Congress should ever be able publicly comment on immigration--alone work on imm legislation--without answering one simple question:

"How does an undocumented person get a greencard?"
Not, like, step-by-step but generally what are the paths available under current law. If the answer is any variation on "get in line like everybody else," an automatic 6-month bar on any immigration rhetoric/legislation until finishing a mandatory US Immigration 101 course.
If you or your staff are not willing to take the time to understand the system we have, there is no place at the table for you in working toward a new one. None.
Read 4 tweets
Aug 22, 2018
1/ Ten years ago this June a recent immigrant was sentenced to life for the vicious, violent, cold-blooded murder of his wife and infant daughter before trying to flee to his home country.

Here's what *didn't* happen:…

--@bostonherald didn't run an angry editorial blaming our imm. vetting processes

--No one used this tragedy to call for an end to all British immigration

--The media never used a booking photo; always images like this one to remind us of his wealth & whiteness
3/ Neil Entwistle shot his wife in the head, and then his infant daughter in the stomach as she lay sleeping in her mother's arms. He then withdrew every dollar they had and fled to London. Mass state troopers grabbed him on a tube platform.
Read 12 tweets
Aug 22, 2018
If you're ever up for listening in on what your local Deep State is up to, may I recommend one of my favorite eateries in #Boston: the cafe in the JFK fed. building. Decent, reasonably-priced food with a nice view and plenty of space to relax while waiting for #immigrationcourt
1/ Two VA managers are having a lunch meeting nearby, talking through how to deliver faster/better services to a 94-year-old veteran & review implementation of a new process.

A USCIS officer is having a quick salad before another round of immigration interviews. In + out in 10
2/ Friends, this is your actual "Deep State."

Career public servants who take pride in keeping their agencies on mission and making the best use of tax dollars doing it, no matter the President or policies. Dedication, commitment, and institutional knowledge. We can't lose them.
Read 8 tweets
Aug 4, 2018

The people running it & the President directing its policies are also bad.

But ICE was still bad when the President was better.

Its purpose is bad.

Its mandate is bad.

Its unaccountability is bad.

Okay, so any questions on that


Maybe *not* have a rogue, unaccountable, armed secret police force & threat of indefinite detention in a disgusting American gulag archipelago terrorizing immigrant communities in the name of enforcing civil immigration orders

Coordinated internal immigration enforcement is a very new idea in US history. But apart from that: we've only been doing it this way for 15 years. If you are doing anything to make this model inevitable, you're on the wrong side
Read 6 tweets
Jul 30, 2018
1/ Live-tweeting from the Boston immigration court's detained docket:

Detainee is on video. I can't see his face but he has a heavy Massachusetts accent--you'd never know he wasn't born here. He is seeking bond.
2/ He has a series of drug-related convictions together with a record consistent with an addiction. Judge leaves his bond at "no bond" without hearing from him.
3/ Like most people on the detained docket, he doesn't have and can't afford a lawyer. (No appointed counsel here.) He is now speaking for himself.
Read 32 tweets

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