Do We Really Need Ice?

July 2, 2018
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Immigration Backlash


As tens of thousands, take to the street to protest Trump’s immigration policies, there are growing calls from progressive activists & Democrats to eliminate the agency altogether.

So… should it be?

What is ICE Anyway?

  • Immigration & Customs Enforcement employs 20K+.
  • Created in 2003 after 9/11 attacks.
  • 2 main divisions:A Homeland Security InvestigationsA and Enforcement & Removal Ops.
  • HSI investigates money laundering, human smuggling, drug trafficking, cybercrime, etc.
  • EROA arrests, detains, & deports undocumented immigrants.

Do We Really Need ICE?

  • Critics say:A No, its outdated with too broad of reach, especially under current “zero-tolerance” immigration policies where illegal border crossers are arrested & taken into ICE custody.
  • Supporters say: Yes, immigration enforcement is important. ICE manages illegal immigrants. If you get rid of it, then what?

Who Did ICE’s Job Before 2003?

ICE created when 22 federal agencies consolidated under Department of Homeland Security.

The Immigration & Naturalization Service, U.S. Customs Service & The Federal Protective Services morphed into “ICE”.


Something To Consider

“The child of a forced marriage between two defunct federal agencies a The United States Customs Service and the Immigration and Naturalization Service a ICE has long struggled to balance its dual roles of transnational criminal investigations and deportations.”

New York Times

How Did We Get Here?

  • Campaign began with Socialist Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who pulled off an upset in NY House primary race last week.
  • Rep. Pocan (D-WI) is writing a bill to abolish ICE after border visit.
  • 19 HSI agents within ICE wrote a letter to DHS Secy saying they want to separate HSI from ICE because ICE’s reputation is making it difficult to do their job.
“…you get rid of ICE you’re going to have a country that you’re going to be afraid to walk out of your house.”

Pres. Trump on calls to abolish ICE, predicting Democrats will beA ‘beaten so badly’ if that's their campaign for the midterms.A In a tweet later, he reiterated there was ‘zero chance’ of ICE being abolished.

Bigger picture: Is ICE & the entire Dept of Homeland Security efficient & effective? Will ICE become a political red line for the midterm elections? Meanwhile, during all this, Ronald Vitiello takes over as ICE's acting director. Learn more about him here.

  • Trump predicts electoral doom for Democrats with “abolish ICE” push: “They”re going to get beaten so badly”:
  • 19 ICE investigators call for agency to be disbanded in letter amid ‘abolish ICE’ protests
  • ICE names new acting director amid immigration turmoil:
    Vitiello replaces Thomas Homan, who announced in May he would be retiring and leaving his post. Vitiello’s acting role officially began Saturday.He takes over at a crucial time for the agency.
    ICE is under scrutiny as President Trump’s “zero-tolerance” policies at the southern border have led to family separations, ultimately sparking nationwide protests Saturday. In recent weeks, a small number of Democrats have even called for ICE to be abolished altogether.
    Vitiello has years of experience at the border. He became a border patrol agent in 1985, and has worked in law enforcement for more than 30 years.
    “As U.S. Customs and Border Protection Acting Deputy Commissioner, Ron has more than 30 years of experience working in law enforcement and protecting our nation,” Nielsen said in a statement. “Deputy Commissioner Vitiello brings to ICE the vision and leadership needed to continue the exceptional work the agency is doing to accomplish its crucial national security and public safety missions.”In her statement, Nielsen thanked Homan, who planned to retire when former President Barack Obama left office but decided to stay until Mr. Trump found a replacement.
  • Photo credit of protest:A Sarahmirk

by Jenna Lee,