ICE was created from the ill-conceived “Patriot Act” in 2003. In the wake of rampant Islamophobia, immigration changed overnight from being an economic/labor issue to a national security issue. The newly created ICE was headed by men who had spent years working anti-terrorism, and brought this mind-set to overseeing immigrants and asylum-seekers.
Unfortunately, they were given extraordinarily broad-ranging powers over this community. Since ICE was so hastily put together, no thought at all was given as to what would happen if a racist, would-be tyrant tried to use its full power to become a gestapo.
We are seeing first-hand exactly what that looks like now.
Trump has spent the last year on a massive hiring spree for ICE. Unfortunately, when you have a massive hiring surge of thousands, it means standards go out the window.
To re-quote Trump, the surge of new applicants were not our best. They brought crime, they’re rapists. Some, I assume, are good people.
Dozens of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and contract guards responsible for the detention and removal of undocumented immigrants have been arrested and charged with beating people, smuggling drugs into detention centers, having sex with detainees and accepting bribes to delay or stop deportations, agency documents and court records show.
You can add lying in Court to that list as well.
For the children in custody, the ACLU has obtained over 30,000 documents showing severe treatment—including both physical and sexual abuse.
Instead of cleaning up their act, ICE has formally asked the National Archives and Record Administration to begin destroying records relating to their detention operations.
Then there’s the ICE mission.
Trump keeps talking about MS-13, but ICE’s massive spike in arrests are due to going after undocumented immigrants with NO criminal record.
ICE admittedly no longer prioritizes enforcement against individuals who are dangerous or pose risks to the public. They instead go after easily identified long-time residents and contributing members of the community as part of a radical, Trump-inspired ethnic-cleansing campaign.
As Sam Bee states, we spend more than $6 billion a year on this bloated, unaccountable, cruel department. That’s a lot to spend on a an organization dedicated to terrorize the immigrant community—especially children.
Republicans run entire campaigns on abolishing agencies of government: the National Parks, the Consumer Federal Protection Bureau, the EPA, the IRS, the Department of Education, and on and on. The Democrats should run on abolishing an expensive agency that, unlike the others mentioned, does real harm.
If Trump is really concerned about violent gang members, then divert the money from ICE to organizations that actually go after them—like the FBI. That makes a lot more sense than spending billions on an agency designed to rip apart law-abiding families who have already assimilated and are peacefully living in the United States.
Abolishing ICE should be in the Democratic Party platform. Until that time, do what you can. Donate to the Immigration Advocates Network, which provides legal counsel and access to justice for immigrants.
Somebody has to…