Should the United States abolish ICE? | The Tylt

Should the United States abolish ICE?

Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the controversial agency within the Department of Homeland Security, promised massive raids over the weekend of July 12. Earlier in July, the organization made news after reports it used driver's license databases to use facial-recognition technology without citizens' knowledge or consent. Activists have been calling for the department's abolition for a year, but some say this would not solve the real immigration issues. What do you think?

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Should the United States abolish ICE?
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ICE is responsible for much more than deportations. However, as the Atlantic explains, deportation is the duty with which they are most synonymous.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which was set up in 2003 in response to the 9/11 terror attacks, is the largest investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security. One of the agency’s most important divisions is Homeland Security Investigations, responsible for investigating the illegal movement of people and goods within the country, with a hand in everything from cybersecurity to human trafficking. But ICE’s most well-known division is Enforcement and Removal Operations, which detains and deports undocumented immigrants. ICE deportations reached a record high under former President Barack Obama—an achievement that earned him the nickname “Deporter in Chief” from immigration groups—but in his last term, his administration had prioritized the removal of undocumented immigrants who had committed serious crimes. That changed in February 2017 when Trump signed an executive order expanding ice’s focus to include most undocumented immigrants living in the country, regardless of their criminal records. The agency made 37,734 “noncriminal” arrests in the government’s 2017 fiscal year, more than twice the number in 2016. Between October and March of this year, ICE said it arrested roughly 80,000 people, 33 percent of whom were considered noncriminal, compared with 21 percent of the 63,000 people arrested in the same period the year before.

While many people agree the organization has overstepped, they argue that merely calling for its abolition is ignoring much larger structural changes that must take place in order to fix the immigration system. 

“Abolishing ICE has suddenly become a touchstone in our politics and our larger body politic,” said Muzaffar Chishti, the director of the Migration Policy Institute at NYU School of Law, “and in the absence of having any sort of thoughtful, reasoned policies on what enforcement we should have, people have focused their anger on ice, as if ice disappeared from the face of this Earth all our problems would be solved.”
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Abolishing ICE would slow down widespread deportations, which, the New York Times reports, frequently catch legal U.S. citizens. 

American citizens can get caught in its maw...According to the Cato Institute, from 2006 to 2017 ICE wrongfully detained more than 3,500 U.S. citizens in Texas alone. Even in Rhode Island, ICE issued 462 detainers for people listed as U.S. citizens over a 10-year period, according to the A.C.L.U. From 2017 to 2019, A.C.L.U. data showed that law enforcement detained 420 citizens in...Florida, at ICE’s request. Eighty-three of those requests have been canceled, and the people released. The rest remain in detention, waiting for ICE, according to the A.C.L.U. report. Even though ICE detainers should lapse after 48 hours, local law enforcement often continues to hold people until the agency gets around to checking them.
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Some, including those who served under more liberal administrations, argue abolishing ICE would hinder necessary tasks the organization currently covers. Per the New Republic

Sarah Saldana, who served as ICE’s director from 2014 to January 2017, told me that abolishing the agency would be “nonsensical.” She took issue with the idea of approaching immigration in a piecemeal manner instead of addressing it as a whole. “This is not a question of the agency and its people, it’s a question of enforcement and how you go about it,” Saldana said. “The answer still is comprehensive immigration reform, but nobody has had to respond to the fact that it’s been years now that Congress has ignored a very important issue.”
While immigration enforcement receives the most attention, it only accounts for a third of ICE’s budget, according to Saldana. “If you do abolish ICE, you’re abolishing the United States’ representation in immigration court, you’re abolishing the extraordinary work that investigative agents do on the Homeland Security Investigations side,” she said. “That’s the half of ICE that does investigative work, which is human trafficking, child exploitation, international crime, military-arms proliferation—all of that is under ICE.”
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Many activists disagree with this logic, arguing that tasks currently taken on by ICE could be spread to other governmental departments. Per the Brennan Center for Justice

If ICE were abolished, other parts of the government would likely take up some of the agency’s responsibilities. In his legislation to abolish ICE, Rep. Pocan proposes examining the agency’s functions to determine how some capabilities — like investigations of gang violence, drug and human trafficking, and organized crime (most of which fall to HSI) — could be transferred to other agencies. ICE’s role removing immigrants who have committed significant crimes is also likely to remain important.
In theory, a significantly streamlined or restructured ICE could refocus on priority removals. However, given the strongly anti-immigrant orientation of both ICE leadership and the rank and file, such an overhaul would have to be significant — and begin with the agency’s top leadership — to have a chance of addressing the movement’s concerns. 
FINAL RESULTS
Politics
Should the United States abolish ICE?
#GetRidOfICE
A festive crown for the winner
#MaintainICE