The Washington Post‘s account of a January 2007 raid in Maryland by officials at the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) contains a sweet little tidbit about the acumen of experienced immigration officers.

Here’s the scenario, as described in the story: There’s a Baltimore ICE unit responsible for rounding up “suspected terrorists or dangerous criminals who are ‘fugitive aliens,’ meaning they have evaded a deportation order.” The unit, like others across the country, is responsible for meeting an arrest quota.

Well, this unit was underperforming, failing to reach the arrest targets set by Washington. Cut to the scene where the chief of Baltimore office goes off on a subordinate about the unit’s insufficient body count. This is how the Post describes it:

By all accounts, John D. Alderman, then the acting field office director of ICE’s Baltimore Office of Detention and Removal Operations, was dissatisfied upon the team’s return from its night of fugitive hunting.

According to the investigation’s summary, deportation officer Sean C. Ervin said Alderman told him that headquarters in Washington was “unhappy with Baltimore’s results.” He then “instructed [Ervin] to go out and get more aliens, that he as an experienced officer knew where potential illegal aliens tended to gather, and gave examples such as Home Depot or Lowe’s parking lots.” (Emphasis added.)

The only comment I’d like to add to this discussion is this: If knowing that “potential illegal aliens tended to gather” in the parking lots of big-box hardware stores makes you an “experienced officer,” I, Erik Wemple, am prepared right now to assume leadership of ICE. Just set up my confirmation hearing, give me the tax forms—I’m as experienced an officer as you need.

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