With increasing protests and heated discussions related to immigration, it can be difficult to understand what the original purpose of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement was, let alone what the agency is attempting to do now. Unfortunately, this makes it difficult to analyze the agency’s actions. The agency needs to reevaluate its priorities in order to serve its intended purpose: to protect America from the cross-border crime and illegal immigration that threaten national security and public safety.
ICE is composed of three major offices: Enforcement and Removal Operations, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Office of the Principal Legal Advisor. ERO has overshadowed the other branches in recent news because of various reports explaining failures that resulted in preventable deaths in detention centers. Despite lack of media coverage, the other branches actually play key roles in securing America from outside threats. The Office of Principal Legal Advisor and HSI handle the legal actions that affect any illegal action brought to light by ICE. This is important because without these branches, ERO would be able to detain any foreign-looking person who cannot immediately prove citizenship.
Moving forward, it is unlikely that programs like Abolish ICE will actually succeed. However, an extreme motion like this may lead to change. ICE is not completely bad, and if the original goals of mitigating cross-border crime and illegal immigration are revisited, we can have some actual change. As with most federally funded programs, any actions tie back to the politicians, and these policy makers need to reevaluate the effects that ICE is having on overall public safety.
ICE is not able to execute its purpose without legal actions, and subsequently, Enforcement and Removal has become increasingly aggressive in recent years. Their power has gotten out of hand because the former branches are dwarfed by ERO in the media. In recent years, the agency’s priorities have shifted to interior immigration enforcement, something police forces already handle. Unfortunately, this has caused multiple problems.
Firstly, this takes the focus off of the actual border. It opens up opportunities for more unsupervised activities such as child smuggling. ICE also puts the police in a bad situation internally. Immigrants are afraid to call the police for help in fear of being detained or even deported, and this causes an overall rise in unreported crimes. Reports of sexual assault from Hispanic people in Los Angelas dropped 25 percent and reports of domestic violence dropped 10 percent following President Trump’s crackdown, according to the Guardian.
ICE is here to protect the United States. However, the agency’s shift of power to the department that focuses on acquiring illegal immigrants is diverting focus from its intended purpose. As a federal program that tries to maintain our borders, ICE’s current approach needs to be reevaluated by politicians.