Left-wing activists continue to push for the gutting and defunding of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Once again, the hashtag #AbolishICE is trending on Twitter. Groups like Rise and Resist claim that ICE creates “circles of terror and loss” while engaging in “ethnic cleansing” and asserts that to defund ICE is to “defund hate.” Hollywood elites have also joined in by comparing the agency to “genocidal Nazi German SS.” And Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) refers to detention facilities as “concentration camps” that are run by “an authoritarian and fascist presidency.”
However, their basis for such claims are nothing but weak attempts at defamation in an effort to thwart the Trump Administration’s promise to establish a secure border. If successful, their thinly-veiled political agendas, masked as humanitarian appeal, would expose the American public to the possibility of increased crime, terrorism and economic insecurity.
According to its mission statement, ICE focuses on “smart immigration enforcement, preventing terrorism and combating the illegal movement of people and trade” in the United States. It is about neither race nor ethnicity but rather the rule of law and protecting the American public. In addition, any argument claiming that the institution is racist would be amiss as a majority of ICE agents are minorities and more than 50 percent of agents are Hispanic.
In claiming that those targeted by ICE have no criminal record, activists neglect the fact that mere illegal presence in the United States constitutes legal grounds for removal. In Houston alone, Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) removed more than 12,620 illegal aliens with criminal convictions and another 1,699 with pending criminal charges in FY 2019. Convictions included terrorist acts, child sex trafficking, assault, drug smuggling, weapons smuggling, rape, and murder.
Additionally, many deported illegal aliens with criminal records often return due to increased incentives provided by state and local politicians, such as access to state welfare programs, job assistance, driver’s licenses, and protection from deportation in sanctuary cities. In FY 2019, illegal aliens with a past criminal record accounted for more than 86 percent of all ICE arrests, and 82.9 percent had re-entered after a prior deportation.
#AbolishICE is a dangerous plea with severe consequences that is rooted in a muddled political narrative. Taking such a step would allow for the continued abuse of the immigration system and place the American public at great risk. To abolish ICE is to rid our country of an essential part of its security and defense system.