Following the police-involved death of George Floyd on Memorial Day, protests erupted throughout the United States. In addition to peaceful protests, Americans also witnessed scenes reminiscent of the Bolshevik revolution and other violent anarcho-revolutionary upheavals throughout history: looting, rioting, beatings of innocent bystanders, arson, attacks on churches, the vandalization of national monuments, and the murder of Federal Protective Service (FPS) officer Pat Underwood. Many businesses – including minority-owned ones – were also looted and destroyed.
As a result, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents were deployed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to help the police and the National Guard to stem the chaos and violent anarchy.
Both agencies emphasized their support of the right to peacefully protest. However, as acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan pointed out in a tweet, “as we have seen, these ‘protests’ are anything but peaceful.”ICE and CBP assets have been deployed in support of the Federal Protective Service – DHS’ uniformed security police division – as well as to assist federal, state, and local law enforcement.
In addition, both agencies pointed out that they will be assisting with general law enforcement duties, not searching for illegal aliens and other immigration violators. An ICE spokesperson told Roll Call that an “ICE policy limiting immigration enforcement at ‘sensitive locations’ such as protests, hospitals and schools, ‘except when there is an imminent public safety or national security threat,’ would still be in effect.”
The wisdom of this policy is suspect, especially in light of the fact that some of the arrested rioters included illegal aliens who benefitted from the DACA program. But it is more than apparent that the primary goal of ICE and CBP in this situation is to minimize the loss of life and property connected with a breakdown of civil order.
Predictably, the “usual suspects” on the left are very upset. Andrea Flores, deputy director of immigration policy at the increasingly radical left American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), condemned the deployment in the shrillest of terms:
“ICE and CBP are rogue agencies with sordid histories of abuse, violence, and human rights violations. Deploying these agents and resources into cities already suffering from over-militarization and law enforcement brutality is a mistake that imperils the lives of even more Black and Brown people. (…) ICE and CBP should be kept off our streets — not sent into local situations that require restraint and are beyond their purpose.”
Of course, Flores is ignoring the fact that danger connected with violent protests, looting, and rioting is colorblind. It imperils the lives and livelihoods of “Black and Brown people,” just as it does all other peaceful, law-abiding Americans.
The problem here is not the deployment of ICE and CBP assets – because that may be necessary to restore order – but rather the fact that the anarchy and chaos are diverting our immigration enforcement agencies from doing the job they were established to do. While our immigration authorities are focused inward, aiding in the restoration of general order, they are not focused on the external threats which arrive at our borders daily or removing dangerous illegal alien criminals.