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Claims That ICE Agents Were 'Just Following Orders' Won't Save Them From Liability for Children's Suffering, Legal Scholars Warn


Claims That ICE Agents Were 'Just Following Orders' Won't Save Them From Liability for Children's Suffering, Legal Scholars Warn

Julia Conley, staff writer

A new report finds that individual Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents could be held personally liable for the suffering of families and children under the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" immigration policy—and warns that the confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court could harm the chance of anyone being held accountable for the forcible separation of families.


Not even Trump’s pardoning ability can save them.

Crimes against Humanity are only rewarded by one entity: the Devil.


“Sovereign immunity” means that the person who gave the illegal order walks away, while the poor shmuck who obeys it takes the fall.

I don’t like it, and I have trouble believing that ICE agents or others similarly situated will like it much either. The supply of people willing to throw themselves on their swords for Twitler isn’t unlimited.


When I worked with a vulnerable population, even with an interdisciplinary team I worked with adults. I never wanted to work 50 to 60 hours a week, get paid for 40 and then go to jail as my reward. Children under HHS have a huge liability and it is both the cause and the benefit. They can’t give kids to parents unless they can prove it is in the best interest of the child. It is a common problem for people that have no conservator. Even adults in some situations.


Not quite. The person who gave the illegal order may also be held personally liable, just as the person following orders can be. It is the agency,-- the government – that is immune, so its deep pockets are not directly available to pay damages, although there may be a tort action against the government by the individual who is held liable to reimburse him or her for damages assessed against them in the underlying cause of action. Convoluted, yes, but likely how the law would sort it out – at least pre-Kavanaugh.


Except in this case they are subject to a valid court order to do just that. They are required to obey that order or be held in contempt, and possibly subject to damages, for failing to do so. They can’t hide behind the “in the best interest of the child” standard in the face of such an order – the best interest of the child has been adjudicated by the Court, whether they believe it or not.


Well, this is a different population and very difficult circumstances but once they are under HHS the court can not make HHS violate their own procedures and to some degree I don’t think you would want that. They can and have ordered them to explain why and for each child. ICE is another matter.


Thanks for the clarification.


Wrong. Once the court has entered its order, absent a stay on appeal the game is over. There are no procedures that override a court order. Compliance is compulsory and will be enforced by the US Marshals if necessary. This was established in the core concepts laid down in Marbury v. Madison. The courts have the final say and when they speak, all executive branch agencies must listen and obey.


Wrong, they find them in contempt of court but that is not what they did, they ordered them to show cause. Was it HHS not fulling the obligation, or was it refugee services not having adequate provisions. Some of the parents are criminals and in jails for other crimes.

As of yesterday, anyway.


And all of that is in compliance with the court order. It was not a writ of mandamus ordering HHS to perform duties it has a legal obligation to perform. Rather it is a court order, directing HHS to show cause – a wholly different ball of wax both procedurally and substantively. HHS’s procedures have nothing to do with it.


Sorry, I misunderstood your post. I agree. I guess it could still end up as contempt?


Yes, it can.


If I’m not mistaken, it was internationally agreed in the Nuremberg Trials after WWII, that “I was just following orders” was an unacceptable defense for crimes against humanity. Giving those orders and following them were/are both punishable. Now if we can just arrest them and bring them to court…(I suggest it be an international one to ensure fairness).


I agree, but only if we start at the top, with Dear Leader. No one should suffer more than he, so his sentence defines the upper boundary of punishment. To do otherwise is to continue and expand the hypocrisy of making one’s inferiors take the fall for the ass at the top of the pyramid.


This court action is for an emergent need, hopefully it leads to reforms. Punishing everyone in this issue just insures that only the most aggressive and unethical will work in this field. It isn’t going away soon and no one has proposed what would replace it except the generic we should all love each other. Obviously that hasn’t worked out so well, this goes on all the time and it took a few thousand people to even bring it to the attention of the general population.


The entire human race is bound to the Nuremberg principles established at the end of the second world war.

In order; a human being cannot escape responsibility for involvement in crimes against peace, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.

Satan may rise. It faces almost fourteen billion years of accelerating evolution. Cosmic powered biology began when the first quarks mated. Go ahead, pollute the planet with futile energy and dam the river that fills it with silt so the river goes around. All ya need is love.

Evolution is accelerating at an accelerating rate. Bad totalitarian governments that steal children have been seen before. The decision to steal children from parents seeking asylum is a crime against humanity. Contributing to mayhem in the land refugees flee is a crime against peace. If, by force of arms, children remain unaccounted for, then the entire bureaucratic act becomes a war crime. All the way to the top. Stealing children as a message sending policy is an official part of a government war on humanity.


It strikes me as rather counter productive to keep pretending that any significant portion of america’s government actually respects the law.


The really disturbing thing is that there are now Americans who can justify causing harm to children as “just following orders”. ICE must go, before it becomes our Gestapo. (Many Nazis involved in the Holocaust pleaded “just following orders”.)


Too late I’m afraid – and it it’s not just ICE, many other agencies fall into this category.