Dallas Immigration Officer Retires, Investigation Pending

Dallas Immigration Officer Retires, Investigation Pending

"The top federal immigration officer in Dallas has been on leave since March 16 and will retire on March 31 amid an investigation about money seized from detainees.

No reason was given for the retirement of Nuria Prendes, who headed the detention and removal unit at the ICE office as the largest immigration crackdown in decades unfolded across the nation.

But people with knowledge of the investigation told The Dallas Morning News and Channel 8 (WFAA-TV) that funds seized from detainees were not returned upon the detainees’ release as required by the agency.

How much money is involved remains unclear, but Prendes' office was responsible for deporting 16,000 illegal immigrants last year. About 400,000 people are deported from the U.S. each year for violations of immigration laws.

ICE officials wouldn't confirm or deny the existence of any internal investigation.

“ICE takes all allegations of misconduct seriously and upon receipt appropriately routes these allegations for proper resolution,” said ICE spokesman Carl Rusnok.

Prendes is the second top ICE official to depart the Dallas office in a year. Last year, John Chakwin, the special agent in charge of investigations, retired. David Marwell was named his replacement earlier this month and was last posted in Denver.

Prendes, 50, was the field office director for the largest unit within ICE. The Dallas office covers about 128 counties within North Texas, and the state of Oklahoma.

She was born in Guantanamo, Cuba, and because of those immigrant roots said once said in an interview she knew “the difference between leaving for political reasons and leaving for economic reasons.”

No official reason was given for the retirement of Nuria Prendes, who headed the detention and removal unit." - Dianne Solis, Mar. 22, 2012.