Why Abolishing ICE is Such an Indecent Proposal?

Recently, The Nation ran a piece calling for the abolishment of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).  According to the left-leaning publication, “A mass-deportation strike force is incompatible with democracy and human rights.” And the harebrained idea instantly gained traction among the luminaries of the Democratic Party.

Of course, there are a few serious problems with The Nation’s indecent proposal:

  • ICE isn’t a “mass deportation strike force”; that’s hyperbolic nonsense. In actuality, it’s a federal agency responsible for preventing terrorism and combating the illegal movement of people and goods. It’s mission overlaps significantly with that of the FBI, DEA and U.S. Marshals. There’s nothing particularly sinister about ICE.
  • Far from being incompatible with democracy, ICE’s Document and Benefit Fraud Task Forces actually help to ensure the integrity of the democratic process by targeting people who use using fake driver’s licenses, birth certificates, Social Security cards, and passports to illegally obtain benefits in the United States.
  • No country in the world recognizes a “human right” to cross the borders of another nation without authorization. As the Supreme Court of the United States has repeatedly observed, every sovereign nation has the power to forbid the entry of foreigners and to prescribe the conditions under which foreign nationals may be admitted.
  • The Supreme Court has also repeatedly held that deportation is the “appropriate and lawful means” of returning those unlawfully present in the U.S. to their own countries.

So, what would happen if ICE were shut down? Let’s take a look at what ICE accomplishes in an average day:

  • Arrests more than 400 immigration violators and puts them in removal proceedings.
  • Manages 1.71 million aliens in various stages of removal proceedings.
  • Physically removes anywhere from 600 to 1,200 illegal aliens from the United States.
  • Makes 90 criminal arrests, pursuant to the 400 federal statutes it enforces.
  • Removes 14 gang members from American streets.
  • Makes 32 narcotics enforcement arrests.
  • Seizes hundreds of pounds of illegal drugs.
  • Opens two new terrorism investigations.

The numbers make it pretty clear that anyone who cares about the safety and security of the United States would never suggest abolishing ICE. It looks like Democrats are more interested in protecting the non-existent “rights” of illegal aliens than looking out for every-day Americans.

About Author


Matthew J. O’Brien joined the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in 2016. Matt is responsible for managing FAIR’s research activities. He also writes content for FAIR’s website and publications. Over the past twenty years he has held a wide variety of positions focusing on immigration issues, both in government and in the private sector. Immediately prior to joining FAIR Matt served as the Chief of the National Security Division (NSD) within the Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate (FDNS) at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), where he was responsible for formulating and implementing procedures to protect the legal immigration system from terrorists, foreign intelligence operatives, and other national security threats. He has also held positions as the Chief of the FDNS Policy and Program Development Unit, as the Chief of the FDNS EB-5 Division, as Assistant Chief Counsel with U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement, as a Senior Advisor to the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman, and as a District Adjudications Officer with the legacy Immigration & Naturalization Service. In addition, Matt has extensive experience as a private bar attorney. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in French from the Johns Hopkins University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Maine School of Law.


  1. avatar

    Good morning. First, I want to say, thank you for all who serve in protecting United States citizens. I pray that you continue to be on the front lines in protecting us. For these ignorant politicians who are wanting opened borders, and the continent of DACA, or any illegal alien. These politicians need to be recalled from office. Common sense people need to demand these politicians too step down from office! These politicians are traitors! American citizens are being victimized by these politicians, let alone by the criminal aliens! Our country is plague with drugs, and gang violence. We need the National Guard unit’s along border patrol agents along the Southern border.

  2. avatar

    Unreal when any politician can say we are protecting you When this is AMERICA. Americans are who you are supposed to protect and who voted you in and why. To obey the law and protect us not mexico. Look what help the veterans get that fight for our country and rights. What have illegals done?

  3. avatar

    What we have on the left are a bunch of gutless wonders who hide behind nonsense like this because they don’t have the backbone to say what they really want is open borders. If you have NO enforcement of immigration laws then what is the difference. Instead of American flag lapel pins, Democrats and about a quarter of the GOP should be wearing Mexican lapel pins. Truth in advertising. Mexico says jump and they say how high.

    If there was ever a perfect example of media bias, it would have to be the fact that for months Trump was asked by the media to renounce the support of David Duke, after he repeatedly did, but the media ignores the fact that many members of the Democratic party, including sitting members of Congress, have outright refused to denounce Louis Farrakhan. Among Farrakhan’s beliefs are that “whites should die” and Jews are a satanic cult.

  4. avatar

    Why should illegals have ANY rights? They already broke the law coming in. I deal with invasion south of border, illegal human traffic crossing open land from Tecate. Smugglers bring large groups, anyone. Each have their own agenda. End families with futrue DACA children. End drugs and criminals. All use hiking trail, going back and forth near my ranch.