Apply to join The Signal

Should ICE be abolished? Maybe.

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement is not working as intended. On its website, ICE states that they “enforce federal laws governing border control, customs, trade and immigration to promote homeland security and public safety.” ICE was created in 2003 through a merger of the investigative and interior enforcement elements of the former U.S. Customs Service and the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

It reminds me of a biblical quote about roads paved with good intentions — I’m sure you know the one.

For some years, ICE was doing just that, but recently, under the Trump administration, ICE has opened a new chapter for themselves in American history books.

Register for Nursing Classes Today

A movement is coming. It wants to abolish ICE and it’s gaining national attention. This movement gained a lot of traction after then-Congressional primary newcomer Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, now U.S. Representative-elect for New York’s 14th Congressional District, promised to open a path to citizenship for immigrants who enter the United States both legally and illegally.

In an interview with Splinter News, Ocasio-Cortez said, “It’s basically a product of the Bush-era Patriot Act suite of legislation. An enforcement agency that takes on more of a paramilitary tone every single day.”

When ICE was created in 2003, it was formed under the umbrella of the Department of Homeland Security. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agencies protected and monitored ports of entry while Immigration Services handled visas. It was ICE’s job to manage detentions and the removal of people who have already been arrested for immigration violations. Somewhere along the way things have changed. At its roots, ICE was created as a response to 9/11, to make Americans feel safer about their borders.

But now it’s creating even more problems.

ICE agents were generally assigned to issues along the lines of human trafficking, child exploitation, cyber crime and border control. For example, in June of this year, ICE discovered over 50 illegal aliens inside a tractor-trailer in San Antonio, Texas, or when a Colorado man was sentenced to 20 years for child pornography. In June, $23.6 million in drugs, weapons and illicit goods were confiscated because of ICE in a New York operation.

For all the good ICE does, it’s egregiously overshadowed by all the negative acts committed under the guise of “law enforcement.”

In Fort Worth, Texas, police arrested a man who made threats to burn down his girlfriend’s apartment. That should have been the end of it — boyfriend arrested, apartment and girlfriend safe, case closed — but two men from Mexico were also taken into custody because police thought they might have entered the country illegally. ICE was called.

Under previous administrations, ICE wasn’t used this way. They handled serious threats to our borders, not men stumbled upon during routine arrests. President Donald Trump has dialed the aggressive immigration tactics up to 11. ICE arrests have skyrocketed, and the public’s views on the agency have changed from indifference to outrage.

ICE reported to Congress that its average daily population in detention is 44,631 people. In comparison, Customs and Border patrol arrested 28,112 people in October. That’s about 16,000 more people sitting in detention cells that are maintained by tax dollars. About $100 million was taken out of areas like the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and funneled into the detention centers so ICE could continue to detain the so-called dangerous people, the killers and the rapists Trump says are crossing the borders in the U.S. Most of the people who are in these detention cells were living quite normal lives just trying to get through another day before ICE arrested them for being in the U.S. illegally.

The California campfire has broken records for the number of people killed and acres of land decimated by fire; hurricanes are sweeping across the country causing massive damage to homes on the east coast in North and South Carolina and Texas in the south. People are dying all across the country, and yet FEMA funds are being funneled into ICE to keep people in cells while the president of the United States stands in front of a podium and rants about a caravan that’s thousands of miles away.

What’s the real danger here?

Under Trump’s administration, the congressional appropriations committees gave ICE $7.1 billion dollars, $4.1 billion of which was put aside for immigrant removal and detention operations. That is where our tax dollars are being spent: on private prisons 2.0. Trump has weaponized ICE into his anti-immigration squad that exceeds the agency’s original vision.

Raúl Manuel Grijalva, the U.S. Representative for Arizona’s 3rd Congressional District, told The Daily Beast, “With little accountability and oversight—and a long track record of abuse—I’m concerned that the vast majority of those in ICE custody include many innocent people who’ve done nothing wrong.”

This past summer, stories of migrant children being separated from their families have sparked a new wave of protests to abolish ICE once and for all. Under Trump’s leadership, ICE has fallen from its core mission of public safety, focusing instead on targeting helpless families.

Moving forward, things need to change; ICE can no longer be considered credible or humane looking back at their history. It’s time to either abolish the agency or reform it from the ground up. As it exists right now, it’s not doing a very good job. Do we need immigration reform? Yes. But ICE, in its capacity today, is not the right agency for the job — it’s far too corrupt.

Be the first to comment

Join the Discussion