Last Word: Putting the ICE on ice

Taylor Baker, Staff Writer

To start this piece, I’d like to point out what is at best a misconception and at worst a falsehood put forth by last week’s “First Word.”
The seemingly sourceless claim that “the majority of the Democratic Party is in favor of abolishing ICE” is directly contradictory to polls from several established sources that vary from Fox News to Politico to The Hill.

A Fox News poll places the true number at around one quarter, just 25% of Democrats opposing ICE. The Hill, citing a poll by the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, has come to similar numbers, one actually shared in nearly equal parts among both Independents and Republicans.
The only number that could be found resembling a “majority” was actually a plurality of 43% in an older Politico poll, with the true majority of Democrats either supporting the agency or being unsure of their stance.

But let’s propose for the purpose of this article that we live do in fact live in an alternate world where the vast majority of Democrats, a plurality of the voter base, do support abolishing ICE.

What possible reasons could this proposed majority have for abolishing ICE? Could it be the credible allegations of racial profiling and “collateral arrests” that resemble the brutality of the Mexican Repatriation Act? Perhaps the claims of sexual abuse and assault against ICE that now number in the thousands?

Maybe the fact that the “humane” treatment of illegal immigrants includes what are essentially middle of the night abductions, abductions of families that commit the heinous crime of crossing a line in the sand? Maybe it’s the fact that over 1,500 of these abductions have been American citizens? Including, according to the Los Angeles Times, a citizen held in ICE custody for 1,273 days? Could one say that violating the due process rights of these 1.5 thousand Americans is a sufficient reason to “abolish ICE”?

Maybe if it was coupled with the fact that the abductions of innocent non-citizen families actually hinder investigations into criminal activity because illegal immigrants are now too terrified to come forward with information?

Another misconception put forth by last week’s First Word is that “the job of ICE is to protect the United States from crimes crossing into our border and to stop illegal immigration.” This is actually the role of the Customs and Border Protection, the people enforcing Donald Trump’s “Zero Tolerance” border family separation policy.

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement was set up in 2003, designated to investigate illegal immigration and drug/human trafficking already existing in the United States. The Enforcement and Removal Operations division of the ICE is indeed intended to deport illegal immigrants. President Obama was deemed the “Deporter in Chief” because of his record deportation rates.

The difference however, was the focus on criminal elements. With Donald Trump’s “Zero Tolerance” executive order, the ICE more than doubled its “noncriminal” deportations from 2016 with 37,734 people for the innocent people for the 2017 fiscal year. It is almost doubling again this year, so far increasing by 150% in 2018 according to The Atlantic.

ICE is not purely protecting Americans, it is abducting families in a manner similarly seen in some infamous regimes that shall go unnamed. If ICE was purely about protecting the American people, these noncriminal deportations should have stayed constant or even decreased as the ratio of criminal deportations rises. Donald Trump’s policy is leading to a larger amount of deportations but a smaller ratio of criminals being deported.

Why abolish ICE? Why is ICE “inhumane”? Because we are violently and indiscriminately abducting people from their children, their families, their communities and their homes without tangible reason.

The United States has nothing to gain with the removal of non-criminal immigrants. If you believe that taking people from their homes in the middle of the night, separating them from their children, and throwing them in cages because a piece of paper deems them unfit to live in peace is “humane,” then perhaps consider whether or not you would have donned a brown shirt.

I believe Reverend Trey Hegar put it best after he witnessed a massive raid in the town of Mount Pleasant, Iowa: “When a stranger resides with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.”

For a supposedly “Christian Nation,” this line from Leviticus sure seems to be forgotten.

Taylor is a freshman Political Science major and the President of the BU Democrats.