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Abolish ICE

| July 8, 2018

customs enforcement

Ice bucket list. (Fibonacci Blue)

By Fizz Perkal

 As someone who was born and raised in the border state of New Mexico, I’m very familiar with political speak about immigrants and the border, especially when it comes to talking about safety.


After 9/11, concerns about safety led to the passing of the Homeland Security Act, which created a new cabinet department as well as a new law enforcement agency: Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE. ICE was given a never-before-seen level of criminal and civil authority — in theory, to keep Americans safe.

It’s now the largest investigative branch of the Homeland Security department. Unlike other law enforcement agencies like the FBI or DEA, ICE doesn’t answer to the Department of Justice, which for decades has at least paid lip service to due process.

Far from being a law enforcement agency, ICE has become the closest thing we have to a lawless organization.

Rather than keeping Americans safe, the organization has become a menace, wasting taxpayer money while doing tremendous violence to communities that pose no threat. From separating families to having 3-year-olds stand trial for deportation, and from staking out churches to stealing immigrants’ identities to open up fraudulent credit cards, ICE embodies cruelty.

More worrying still, people are dying in ICE custody at alarming rates.

In May, a transgender woman from Honduras named Roxsana Hernandez died in ICE custody in New Mexico. Roxsana came to the United States seeking asylum from persecution and violence in her home country.

Rather than being treated with the dignity and respect befitting all humans, and particularly those seeking asylum, she was detained by ICE and held in a freezing cold cell with the lights turned on 24 hours a day. This approach to detention is so common it has a name — the icebox, because the cells feel as cold as a freezer.

As a queer, gender non-conforming New Mexican, this hit close to home for me. Not only did Roxsana come to this country because she wanted the safety to live her life as her authentic self, but she died in Albuquerque, my hometown. She died a terrifying and lonely death due to complications of pneumonia, likely caused by the frigid conditions of her detention.

I have to say: Her death certainly doesn’t make me any safer.

In another devastating case, Pablo Villavicencio, an undocumented man originally from Ecuador, was detained by ICE while he was delivering pizza to a military base in New York City. Pablo lives in New York with his wife and young children, all of whom are U.S. citizens. His detention and possible deportation certainly won’t make me, or anyone else, any safer.

ICE was created to protect the U.S. from terrorism. But it seems the biggest threats they can identify are refugees and workers supporting their families. If you ask me, ICE is the one terrorizing people.

Unfortunately, ICE has become even more aggressive in the past 18 months — and not just against people from Mexico and Central America. The number of Haitians deported rose from 300 in 2016 to 5,500 in 2017 — as if almost the entire city of Aspen, Colorado were deported. The rate of deportation for people from Somalia nearly doubled during the same time.

To what end?

At this point, ICE’s targeting of families and non-threatening individuals makes it clear that it’s beyond reform. Immigrants aren’t threats to the nation’s security — they’re people, just like you and me, who are trying to make the best of their circumstances.

We need to find better ways to make sure our communities are safe without relying on a lawless, violent organization. It can’t be that hard — we did it for centuries before the Homeland Security Act. ICE must be abolished.

Fizz Perkal is a Next Leader at the Institute for Policy Studies.

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37 Responses for “Abolish ICE”

  1. Arlene Marvonek says:

    Be careful what you are asking for…you may just get it. As someone that has lived in San Diego for thirty years, I have seen the crime, the chaos, and the change that illegal immigration has brought, and it is not good. Until you actually live it, don’t judge. Get the facts straight. We need Ice. The are doing a good job overall. This rhetoric on Ice has been overblown. Go to a border State and live there for awhile. You will be happy for the protection of Ice.

  2. lnzc says:

    If they would come in legally there would be no problem

  3. Rick Khan says:

    Keep ICE but make some policy adjustments to make deportations faster by keeping the family units together!

  4. Veteran says:

    Sure let’s abolsh the police, ATF, Secret Service and military. No need for either!

  5. oldtimer says:

    what part of illegal is so hard to understand

  6. NortonSmitty says:

    “There were children in the cells with no shoes or blankets in the detention center. Many were sleeping on the concrete, some were sleeping standing up. They did not have enough to eat, and lice and scabies were rampant” Inspector interviewed on PBS News Hour. This is the policy you brainwashed Trumpanzees are supporting? This is what you are laughing at, it’s funny? This is the country you want us to be? The Leader you’re so proud of?

  7. Keep Flagler Beautiful says:

    While the Roxsana Hernandez case is tragic and regrettable, it only serves to underscore the fact that there would be no detentions, no deportations, no family separations, or worse, if people didn’t try to enter the United States illegally. There is a very clear protocol, which millions of immigrants have followed to successfully become US citizens. There is no other nation on Earth where a small faction of malcontents can even put forward the idea of open borders with no equivalent of ICE. I lived in Australia — a civilized nation. If you overstayed your visa by even one day, the authorities would show up at your door and take you straight to the airport to deport you. I know because it happened to a friend of mine. Their way of dealing with illegals is to put them on a boat and detain them on an island — if you don’t believe it, Google it. The idea of eliminating ICE is not even worth discussing. We are a nation with laws, and they must be followed.

  8. Keep Flagler Beautiful says:

    Many of the underage illegals probably didn’t arrive with shoes, but they probably already had lice and scabies. And by the way, many did not come across with their parents. Many were sent (unaccompanied) by their parents, which is why DNA tests are being administered; or with coyote transporters or, in some cases, they were simply dumped over the fence by their parents. The latter is hard to imagine, but Border Patrol officers have witnessed it with their own eyes. No one is laughing, NortonSmitty. No one. This is too serious a situation to laugh at. When you break the law, expect the consequences.

  9. William Moya says:

    Stop the fascists. America, and the world in general, is going through a fascist renaissance, they probably feel that the firs time around they did not get it right, not enough “showers”, gulags, or reeducation camps. Getting rid of Trump is doable, the 45%, debatable.
    But let’s be optimistic, and restore the American Promise.

  10. hawkeye says:

    the 2 examples that fizz (whatever he,she , or it ,is) used as an example were both illegal.They got what they deserve.

  11. Atilla says:

    Abolish the illegals that don’t follow proper instructions as to how to become an American LEGALLY!!!!!!!!!!

  12. Combat Vet says:

    More left wing nonsense! What needs to be abolished is the far left loons like the author.

  13. Pogo says:

    @Follow the blood money

    One winner under Trump: The private prison industry

    By Aimee Picchi – MoneyWatch

    “The U.S. prison population has been falling for several years, reaching its lowest imprisonment rate since 1997, amid a sharp decline in violent crime. But that isn’t ending the good times for the private-prison industry.

    That might seem counter-intuitive, but analysts point to President Donald Trump’s initiatives as providing an unexpected boon for these businesses. Although Mr. Trump’s 2019 budget would maintain the federal Bureau of Prison’s annual spending at $7.1 billion, some analysts expect spending to shift to private prison companies. At the same time, the budget calls for $2.5 billion to hold as many as 47,000 illegal immigrants within detention centers, another major revenue source for prison operators.

    It’s a remarkable turnaround for an industry that less than two years ago was on track to be phased out from use by the federal government, which at the time cited declining prison populations and reforms for its decision. A month after President Trump was inaugurated, the Justice Department backtracked and said it would continue to use private prisons.

    Since President Trump initiated a crackdown on illegal immigrants, the surge in arrests by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has also proved to be a boon for private-prison giants CoreCivic (CXW) and The Geo Group (GEO), according to Stefanie Miller of Height Securities…”

    Link to full story
    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/one-winner-under-trump-the-private-prison-industry/

  14. Downtown says:

    Immigration must be controlled. You cannot just throw open the doors and allow anyone from anywhere just to walk in and set up house for whatever reason fits their situation. There is a legal procedure to follow to enter this country. It’s the law. Everyone is welcome to this country but they must follow the law and do it the legal way. If they are wanting to start a better life in America, God bless them, but don’t start off as a criminal by coming here illegally

  15. woodchuck says:

    Deport them all let GOD sort them out.

  16. GY Presley says:

    So sad that the children suffer. There has to be a better way. Vote!!

  17. BradW says:

    First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Socialist.

    Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Jew.

    Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

    – Martin Niemöller, prominent Protestant pastor who emerged as an outspoken public foe of Adolf Hitler and spent the last seven years of Nazi rule in concentration camps.

  18. Outsider says:

    So let me get this straight: these people are allegedly fleeing gang violence, domestic violence, and extreme poverty caused by corruption at the highest levels in their governments. What they are escaping is anarchy. So, the first thing they do is break the law by entering illegally. Usually the second thing they do contrary to the law is not show up for their immigration hearings. Some of them have been found to have voted illegally. It sounds to me they want to recreate the chaos here they are allegedly running from. Doesn’t make a lot of sense to let them in; it actually is quite ironic.

  19. Russell A Smith says:

    You seem to miss the point.

    What part of “ILLEGAL” do you not understand? This is all a smoke screen. Pay attention to what is really happening within our government and stop the nonsense.

  20. Flatsflyer says:

    Most ICE Agents are contractors not Federal employees. To many are former military personnel either discharge under less than honorable conditions such as drugs use, suffering from PDST, or a host of other problems. The biggest employer is Eric Price whose original company was Backwater, after being bounced, he formed his current company and got contracts with his sisters help, Jersey DeVoid, Secretary OT Education and another incompetent Trump flunked..

  21. Agkistrodon says:

    Where were these calls while Barry the Huckster was Prez……………..HYPOCRITICAL.

  22. Brian says:

    What a load of far-left liberal crap – but I say keep it coming. This garbage from the left only serves to strengthen Trump’s 2020 re-election bid!

  23. Sherry says:

    Thanks for the thoughtful, factual posts POGO and Norton Smitty!

    “IF ” the Republican congress would just pass “comprehensive immigration reform” there would actually be a “reasonable way” for refugees to apply and qualify for the “LEGAL IMMIGRATION” that should be available. “HOWEVER” under the current circumstances, there is “NO REASONABLE” way for refugees to apply and be granted “LEGAL IMMIGRATION”. Please get “educated” and do try an understand, there is NO LONGER a system like they had in Ellis Island!!!

    Repeating, over and over, the FOX “talking points” of “Immigrate Legally” is nothing short of asinine!

  24. knightwatch says:

    ICE…the American Brown Shirts. Never thought I’d see a rogue private army rampaging in our cities threatening citizens, tearing children from parents and whisking innocent people off in the night. If we don’t stop ICS’s outrages we face the very real threat of fascism in this country. Vote to restore freedom and democracy in November.

  25. Reality Bear says:

    There is this continuous attempt to judge our border protection activities as as some cruel outlier, as though the rest of the world were allowing any and everyone into and out of their countries. An unsecured border is almost always an indication of a ‘failed state’. Or one that is failing. Anyone comparing the USA a facist state regarding strict border controls is missing a key fact. Facist states, like communist ones, have strict border controls to keep people ‘IN’ while we have to have them to keep people OUT

  26. Kevin says:

    How ironic is it that the world is focused on the rescue of 12 young people trapped away from their parents in deplorable conditions not knowing what the future holds for them while at the same time over 3000 (based on government estimates) children continue to be held in questionable condiitons away from their parents and not knowing their fate by our government because of the policies of Trump yet the story has fallen from the headlines.

  27. Syd says:

    I would rather abolish all political parties since they are nothing short of a joke. ICE serves a purpose that is needed. No, a wall will not help, people will go over, under, or around, simple as that. We actually need more border agents and more ICE to effectively deal with this situation. And really, saying anyone that wants ICE abolished is a liberal snowflake is getting old. They have a different opinion and they are allowed. Name calling is very juvenile and offers no constructive dialogue. There once was a time people could have debates on issues, each offering points and counterpoints, but now it’s mudslinging, name calling, and an “I’m right your wrong” mentality no matter how you lean politically. Just once I would like to engage in a thoughtful, fact-filled debate, but those days, are over.

  28. Arlene says:

    Children in foster care in this Country are permanently separated from their parents, and any family they have. Today 117,794 are waiting to be adopted. Over twenty five thousand have waited five years or more. Many have been victims of neglect and abused. One thousand seven hundred and fifty have died. While American children languish and die in foster care we are still worried about the migrant children where no one has died, and are separated for a short period of time from their parents. Our foster children will never see their parents. Where is the outrage and outcry for them? We can’t take on the World’s problems. We should start by taking care of our own first.

  29. Dave says:

    Our ancestors entered illegally didnt they? Wasnt there a mass slaughter ? Even the word Matanzas means massacre , we killed and stole from the Indians? Not only did we enter in the same fashion as our Mexican friends but we took what we wanted and killed anyone who got in our way. So what’s the big deal here i dont get it, this land was never ours to begin with so let’s have some understanding

  30. Fernando Melendez says:

    We need Ice, if theirs concerns with a few bad apples we deal with them. Or a way to reform both our immigration policies and Ice. But we need Ice

  31. snapperhead says:

    I think each state should have a wall and border enforcement. I mean if you can move freely across state borders do you really have a state? When other states sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists, and some, I assume, are good people. Gubner Scott Build That Wall! #DavidDennison

  32. Keep Flagler Beautiful says:

    Memo to Dave: What happened to Native Americans was a sin, but any of those turn-back-the-clock-to-the 17th/18th-century arguments are ridiculous. If you’re trying to justify today’s illegal immigration because ships dropped anchor off Boston and Virginia 300-400 years ago, then you have to put eveything else on the same playing field. Using your line of thinking, we’d still have a society in which women, blacks, Hispanics and Asians could not vote, own land, sign legal documents, hold a public office — in fact, there would be no rights for women at all — they’d be chattel, owned by their husbands. Slavery, gunfights to settle arguments, burning people at the stakes — do any of those heinous acts that were legal then justify similar actions today? I think not. We have a much more orderly society, and that’s why the idea of throwing open the gates and letting the rest of the world flood in is a completely insane idea.

  33. Anonymous says:

    This is where we are in our country TODAY. . . you trump supporters should be just sooooooooo proud. . . a 91 year old Mexican man, here to visit his family, beaten with a brick for no reason at all:

    https://edition.cnn.com/2018/07/09/us/mexican-man-beaten-brick-los-angeles/index.html

  34. NortonSmitty says:

    You Trumpanzees keep spouting “Illegal, Illegal!” like the dim-witted parrots you are because Fox tells you to. The reality is the newest wave of refugees that are being imprisoned and separated ARE following the rules! The walked up to the Border Crossing and turned themselves over asking for Asylum. They traditionally were taken to a processing center, scheduled for a hearing and released with an ankle monitor. 97% of them showed up for their hearings! This was all changed at the whim of White Supremacist Stephan Miller, the Keebler Nazi at Justice and the Orange Shitgibbon.

  35. Sherry says:

    This is where we are in our country TODAY. . . you trump supporters should be just sooooooooo proud. . . a 91 year old Mexican man, here to visit his family, beaten with a brick for no reason at all:

    https://edition.cnn.com/2018/07/09/us/mexican-man-beaten-brick-los-angeles/index.html

  36. Sherry says:

    Good Grief! Please. . . Those of us who have actually traveled to other countries and are still left with souls, compassion, intellect and education are NOT advocating “throwing open the gates and letting the rest of the world in”! Many of those who comment here care nothing for FACTS and cling mindlessly to their Fox implanted hate of the “other” (AKA non-white humans).

    Those who do wish to move beyond their HATE should realize that we are all pointing out that there is no longer the process used at Ellis Island. “Refugees” from other countries ARE ACTING AS LEGALLY as possible when they come to the border and ask for refuge. Under the current administration, many fellow human beings who are fleeing horrific violence in other countries, come to our border LEGALLY and have their children ripped out of their arms, and are abused in other terrible ways by ICE agents. . . directed by trump and his cohorts.

    Please understand that the current “Republican” Congress REFUSES to enact a “LEGAL Comprehensive Immigration Process” so that refugees have a “clear and reasonable” way to apply for LEGAL immigration.
    Unless and until such legislation is passed, the “lack” of a “reasonable process” will enable these “crimes against humanity” and “international law” will unfortunately continue until we VOTE our own “internal criminals” OUT!

  37. Richard says:

    Black woman (an Obama girl) clobbers Mexican man in Los Angeles. What would you expect from from 8 years of a failed administration that divided this country between Blacks and Whites? I guess we conveniently forget about those days and then blame it all on Trump. That’s OK, Trump has big shoulders along with his hands.

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