ICE Needs to Chill Out


Image by Jessica Tapia

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) shouldn’t have the authority to target non-criminal, undocumented immigrants, especially in sanctuary cities. 

ICE, founded in 2003, was formed as part of the Department of Homeland Security with the mission to keep the United States “safe” from border crimes and illegal immigration. 

Since ICE’s original purpose was loosely defined to begin with, each presidential administration has molded the organization to fit its immigration agenda. ICE has always been here. For example, Barack Obama’s administration still supported ICE and spent over $18 billion on immigration enforcement. 

Because President Donald Trump campaigned on an agenda that targets undocumented immigrants, his administration’s directions to ICE have been to persecute undocumented people and their families to a more public extent with more hurtful rhetoric. The difference between Trump and Obama’s migrant camps is that Trump’ camps actively separate children from their families and turn away the majority of asylum seekers.

Trump has recently begun to crack down on sanctuary cities by ordering specially trained border patrol agents to back up the ICE agents who work there. According to an article by the New York Times, Lawrence Payne, spokesperson for Customs and Border Protection, the order will “enhance the integrity of the immigration system, protect public safety, and strengthen our national security.”

Non-criminal, undocumented immigrants simply try to seek a better life than what was available in their homeland. How are they a threat to our public safety?

The integrity of the immigration system has been in shambles since ICE formed. If Border Patrol is already doing its job to protect our borders, and if there is no penalty for visa overstays, why are we blaming the people who are simply here for a better life?

Calling for the abolishment of ICE is not equal to calling for open borders because Border Patrol is a separate entity from ICE. While Border Patrol may do its job to prevent border crimes, the branch of ICE targeting non-criminal undocumented immigrants strikes terror in immigrant communities and only adds to the stigma around that group. 

ICE is just a symptom of the difficult immigration process. If the system to immigrate legally was less expensive and less tedious, ICE itself would be unnecessary because it’d be fairly easy to be here legally.