ICE Agents Seek to Create New Agency

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At least 19 Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigators are seeking to dissolve the agency. They believe the Trump administration’s crackdown on illegal migrants has limited their ability to pursue national security threats, child pornography and transnational crime, the New York Times reports. In a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, the agents proposed creating a stand-alone investigations unit and another agency to handle immigration detention and deportation. The request was sent as Democrats and immigration-rights advocates have called for eliminating ICE. Investigations “have been perceived as targeting undocumented aliens, instead of the transnational criminal organizations that facilitate cross border crimes impacting our communities and national security,” wrote agents from Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), a branch of ICE. The Texas Observer first reported the letter.

The investigators said local law enforcement officials have questioned the independence of their agency, given the Trump administration’s aggressive policies against illegal immigration, including arresting undocumented workers for minor offenses, such as driving without a license. Democratic Representatives Mark Pocan of Wisconsin and Pramila Jayapal of Washington are pushing to eliminate ICE. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who stunned the Democratic establishment this week with her primary election victory against Rep. Joe Crowley of New York, made abolishing ICE one of the key planks of her campaign. A senior ICE official said there were “operational challenges raised in that letter that merit some discussion.”Homeland Security Investigations is one of several divisions within ICE — the best-known of which is Enforcement and Removal Operations, which arrests, detains and deports undocumented immigrants

See also “Abolish ICE? It Won’t Happen Anytime Soon.”

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