Immigrations and Customs Enforcement official relieved of duties

A top Immigrations and Customs Enforcement official who sent an Islamophobic email to a Helena immigration attorney has been relieved of his supervisory duties, according to lawyers involved in the case.

Earlier this month, Bruce Norum, the supervisory detention and deportation officer for the Helena Department of Homeland Security ICE field office, forwarded a racially charged email to Shahid Haque-Hausrath, a Helena immigration attorney of Pakistani descent.

Haque-Hausrath, a natural-born U.S. citizen who was raised in a Muslim household, took offense to the email and filed official complaints with DHS and the U.S. Department of Justice. Haque-Hausrath’s complaint maintained that it is unacceptable for a top-ranking ICE official with authority over immigrants of all races, nationalities and religious backgrounds to send such a racially charged email to anyone, especially from a work computer and during work hours.

On Wednesday, Haque-Hausrath said he was contacted by Steven Branch, Norum’s supervisor in Salt Lake City, who said Norum is no longer serving as the supervisory detention and deportation officer for the Montana office.

According to Haque-Hausrath, Branch, the director for ICE’s Salt Lake City field office, contacted Haque-Hausrath’s attorney last Friday to let him know that his office had received the complaint and was taking it seriously.

“He said he was taking swift action to make sure the credibility of his office wasn’t called into question, and to make sure I was able to continue to perform my duties without bias or retaliation,” Haque-Hausrath said. “He said he wanted to run a clean operation, and he understood that Bruce Norum’s actions compromised the integrity of that operation.”

Great Falls Tribune, 12 October 2011