By: Gabrielle Etzel
Many Americans are up-in-arms about Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). From Top-dog Democrats––like Sens. Bernie Sanders, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Elizabeth Warren––to average-joe protesters, #AbolishICE has transitioned from a fringe movement to a meaningful influencer of the 2018 midterm elections.
So what is ICE, does America need it, and why do some people say we don’t?
The current outrage over immigration was sparked with two “fake-news” stories in late May 2018.
First, the internet condemned ICE for supposedly losing approximately 1,500 undocumented immigrant children in their custody. The truth: the children had been released to their parents or guardians but had not responded to subsequent contact from Health and Human Services (HHS). Possibly precarious, but not because of government negligence.
Second, the photo of two young boys in a cage at an ICE detention center set off a firestorm against the agency; however, the picture was taken in 2014 under the Obama Administration, not under President Trump’s “inhumane” immigration regime.
Immigration policy is a sensitive issue. Anything which profoundly impacts the lives of individuals is going to elicit an emotional response, especially with respect to the detention and separation of children from their families.
The problem occurs when emotion outweighs reason, force replaces discourse, and distortion supplants honest truth. No beneficial policy change can come from a political shouting match.
ICE does detain illegal immigrant parents and children and does separate families, usually only for a short period of time. Most of the policies surrounding illegal immigrant detention, however, have remained unchanged since the George W. Bush Administration. Moral of the story: ICE dentitions aren’t Trump’s fault.
Also, the policy for children to visit ICE-detained parents is a very clear and relatively simple process, which is less strict than the visitation policies for the children of U.S. citizens held in federal custody. Separating families is a messy situation, but it isn’t the story that the political left is making it out to be.
Of further importance is the fact that ICE does more than simply “terrorize” children and their families. As a part of the Department of Homeland Security, ICE also concentrates on the management of U.S. imports and exports. It is also on the front lines of the war on drugs and anti-terrorism efforts. While immigration is a thorny topic, the initial reaction to abolish ICE isn’t the solution––especially if no alternative is proposed.
The real solution is to separate the concepts of legal and illegal immigration. Legal immigrants are the lifeblood of America and drive innovation; illegal immigrants, who break U.S. laws not only to enter but also to remain and live in the United States, are vulnerable to manipulation from employers. This doesn’t even address the issues of human trafficking and drug-crime linked with illegal immigration. People are not illegal, but actions can be and can incite greater, more dangerous crimes.
America does desperately need immigration reform: make legal immigration easier for motivated individuals and enforce existing immigration law. Abolishing ICE doesn’t solve the problem.
See the full article on the Unvarnished Blog