A former agent with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is facing upwards of four years in prison after using his position and partnership with a shady lawyer to take advantage of immigrants.
The Detroit Free Press initially reported that then-ICE agent Clifton Divers used his proximity to immigrants hoping to avoid deportation to carry out a bribery scheme with a lawyer named Charles Busse. In one instance, one of Busse's supposed clients, a woman believed to be from Albania, paid Divers $20,000 in hopes that the money would help her remain in the country. After taking the money, Divers then worked behind the scenes to make sure the woman would be safe from deportation. The woman was later revealed to be a government plant and her encounter with the men was enough to bring an end to their operation.
Over a six-year period, Divers took money from at least four of Busse's clients to shield them from deportation. At least one report says the men accepted more than $990,000 in cash.
"Where many saw an overtaxed and broken system in need of reform, Mr. Busse saw an opportunity to enrich himself," criticized acting U.S. Attorney Daniel L. Lemisch. A court document accused Busse of making thousands by "exploiting the inexperience, trust and desperation of his clients and their families."
After taking money from immigrants, who were often left with no other options, the men then found a way to classify the immigrants as undercover informants working with federal investigators. This classification would make them eligible for a deferred action program that was reserved for immigrants helping federal agencies with cases like drug trafficking and terrorism.
Divers was reportedly motivated to help Busse in exchange for free legal representation, worth about $5,000. He also secured summer jobs for his daughter via Busse.
Drivers was charged with bribery and conspiracy in 2016. He entered a plea of guilty to the charges in January. He is currently facing four years in prison and will be sentenced on Monday. Busse is already serving a three-year sentence behind bars. Prosecutors defended harsher punishment for Divers because of his security clearance and proximity to sensitive documents.