The sudden call by some Democrats to abolish ICE - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the agency whose multipronged mission includes deportation - makes a better bumper sticker than a blueprint for policy. Like eradicating the Internal Revenue Service, the GOP’s own recurrent shibboleth, scrapping ICE reflects the risible notion that offensive policies can be wished away by atomizing the agency that enforces them. They can’t be.
Many Americans - we count ourselves among them - are outraged by the Trump administration’s harassment, humiliation and hounding of immigrants, including the zero-humanity policy of deterring future migrants by separating children from their parents. The instrument of some (though not all) of those policies has been ICE. But it is just that: an instrument, wielded in every instance to enforce the will of President Donald Trump and his administration.
Indignant at those policies, abolitionists have seized on ICE as a convenient target for their wrath. But getting rid of the agency, or breaking it up, will not change the laws they dislike or, more to the point, the senseless ways in which the administration has chosen to enforce them. It won’t work any more than eradicating the IRS would make taxes disappear.
No doubt, ICE is guilty of unwarranted abuses. why single out ICE for abolition? U.S. Customs and Border Protection, also a constituent agency of Homeland Security, has its own track record of brutality.
And what of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, in the Department of Health and Human Services? It served as a co-conspirator in the splintering-without-accountability of more than 2,000 migrant families this spring, many of whom, in the case of asylum seekers who presented themselves at U.S. ports of entry, did not even commit the misdemeanor of illegally crossing the border.
The problem with ICE isn’t its existence or its mission. It’s that the Trump administration, in its xenophobic zeal, has weaponized it to go beyond protecting the United States and into the darker realms of oppression.
-The Washington Post