Is ICE an inhumane agency? | The Tylt

Is ICE an inhumane agency?

Reports of the Trump administration sending "tender age" children and babies to detention centers has many outraged, and some are calling for ICE to be abolished entirely. Critics argue ICE is an inhumane agency that functions as a modern-day Gestapo. Plus, it was created less than 20 years ago, so it shouldn't be that hard to eliminate now. But others argue the work ICE does is incredibly important to national security, and ICE agents are just doing their job by enforcing the law. What do you think?

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Audio of crying children separated from their parents and reports of babies being held in "tender age" shelters have many questioning the humanity—or lack thereof—of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Trump administration officials have been sending babies and other young children forcibly separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border to at least three “tender age” shelters in South Texas.
Since the White House announced its zero-tolerance policy in early May, more than 2,300 children have been taken from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border, resulting in a new influx of young children requiring government care. The government has faced withering critiques over images of some of the children in cages inside U.S. Border Patrol processing stations. 
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ICE has long been an unpopular agency within immigrant communities, but as the Trump administration continues to crack down on deportations,  separating families in the process, there has been an increased urgency among many on the left to abolish the agency altogether. As Dara Lind explains in Vox:

ICE agents have become, to many, the face of the administration’s worst impulses. They’re America’s “Gestapo.” They’re a “rogue agency.” Rumors and reports of ICE raids have rippled through communities and social media with regularity; arrests of parents, recorded on their children’s cellphone cameras, have provoked nationwide outrage.

ICE was created post-9/11 with the Department of Homeland Security. Prior to its inception, no such agency existed that would deport individuals solely for living in the U.S. without documents.

So in the 2000s, the US started deporting more immigrants than it ever had before. And for the first time, a large number of those deported were unauthorized immigrants with no criminal record, who were deported just because they were unauthorized. For the first time, in other words, simply being an immigrant without papers in the US carried a real risk of deportation.

The agency is an extremely new one, so it shouldn't be so radical to propose that it should be abolished less than 20 years later. ICE developed an awful reputation of abuse and terror that many believe should be enough to justify its elimination. 

Sean McElwee of The Nation takes it a step further, decrying mass deportation and the work that ICE does as akin to "ethnic cleansing." He and others believe allowing the agency to continue to operate is fundamentally wrong.

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But others argue ICE has an important role to play in national security. DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen has defended the agency, claiming ICE agents have a job to do, and that job is to enforce the law.

"We have to do our job. We will not apologize for doing our job... This administration has a simple message — If you cross the border illegally, we will prosecute you."

Even Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris has defended ICE, proclaiming "ICE has a purpose. ICE has a role. ICE should exist."

ICE Director Tom Homan says nine out of 10 people deported do, in fact, have a criminal record. It seems perfectly reasonable that an agency should exist to get bad people out of the country and monitor those who are trying to come in. ICE was created in a post-9/11 world so that authorities would know who was in the country, and expel those who could cause harm. Comparing ICE to the Gestapo is unfair and calling for the abolition of the agency is not the answer.

"Let's make something clear: there's no prerequisite that an alien has to commit yet another crime when they get to the United States to have the law enforced upon them," he said.
Homan said "more people will die" trying to come to the United States over the Mexican border if they believe they can reach a state where they will be shielded from deportation.
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Is ICE an inhumane agency?
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