Family separation at the border has fueled a public outcry that has inflamed the call to abolish the Immigration, Customs and Enforcement agency. But ICE is not in charge of determining family detention or separations at the border; the responsible agency is Customs and Border Protection. Many elected officials, including Sen. Kamala Harris, D-California, have utilized family separation to justify their contempt for ICE due to its enforcing civil immigration law and for other duties that ensure effective “interior enforcement.”
Already, a bill has been introduced in the House of Representatives to abolish ICE. In the U.S. Senate, Harris has introduced a bill that would eliminate funding for any construction or expansion of any ICE detention facility. It also would cut in half the number of current detention beds, which would effectively decimate ICE functions.
New York Democrat gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon called ICE a “terrorist organization,” but ICE was primarily formed in 2002 to prevent terrorism. ICE tracks illegal movement of suspects, goods, exporting of military firearms and ammunition, among many other enforcement tasks. A few days ago, ICE officers were conducting apprehensions with cooperation from the Oakland Police Department while breaking up a human trafficking ring when these law enforcement officers were confronted outside by demonstrators protesting ICE with signs, one reading “No Person is Illegal.”
On a daily basis, on average, ICE jails 842 aliens, arrests 279 criminal aliens, deports 645 illegal aliens, arrests seven child predators, blocks 3,055 malware attacks and confiscates 2,973 pounds of illegal narcotics. ICE also initiates eight new sensitive technology investigations, manages more than 6,500 active legal cases, obtains five convictions for human smuggling and completes three removal flights carrying dozens of deported individuals to their native country. If ICE is abolished or de-funded, the American people should brace themselves for diminished interior enforcement, more illegal drugs with increasing crime rates caused by more transnational gang crime and criminals left here undeported.
A recent Rasmussen poll shows 54% of Americans believe the parents are to blame for the child separations caused by their crossing our borders illegally, not the federal government. San Diego-based U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw has upheld separating children when a parent is criminally charged at the border for committing non-immigration crimes or if held in detention for felony re-entry. Misdemeanor first time entry carries a maximum sentence of six months in jail and there are increasing numbers of these cases being prosecuted.
Rather than blaming ICE, those behind the nationwide uproar over family separation need to focus on the real problem. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen stated the vast majority – about 10,000 of the children in the care of her agency – were separated by their own parents in their native countries and sent here alone to cross our borders; some have been documented as MS-13 or other gang members.
Another major concern for public focus are the large numbers of criminal aliens illegally entering the United States. Organizations supporting illegal migrants have private research stating “immigrants” commit less crime than citizens, ostensibly mixing illegal migrants with legal immigrants. Illegal migrants are 3.5 percent of the U.S. population. The U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Sentencing Commission last reported illegal aliens were convicted and sentenced for over 13 percent of all crimes committed in the U.S., according to the political website The Hill. The General Accounting Office reviewed the criminal histories of 55,322 illegal migrants in federal or state prisons and local jails, and found an average of 8.3 arrests per undocumented migrant. The U.S. Sentencing Commission data shows illegal migrants committed 74 percent of all federal drug possession crimes, 20 percent of all kidnapping and hostage-taking cases, 17 percent of all drug trafficking crimes, 12 percent of all money laundering and 12 percent of all murder cases, according to a 2015 International Business Times article.
ICE must continue to decrease the unlawful criminal element and fight terrorism. If ICE can no longer fulfill its role in immigration enforcement, we will draw more poverty and crime into the United States. Any reduction of its interior enforcement obligations must be soundly rejected by Congress and the American people. Hilton, a San Diego resident, advocates for entitlement and immigration reforms.
If you wish to read the “Abolish ICE” commentary, the link is inside: ICE provides vital service for Americans