On Thursday, Oct. 4 there was a debate between the BU College Republicans and the BU College Democrats. The debate focused on the question of whether President Trump should be impeached.
I, however, am not going to discuss that question. I’ve decided to discuss something that was brought up during the debate: the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
The majority of the Democratic party is in favor of abolishing ICE. This is due to the recent issue of the separation of illegal immigrant families on our southern border and the belief that those in question are being mistreated.
Now, while I do not support the separation of young children from their parents, I don’t think this is any reason to abolish ICE.
The job of ICE is to protect the United States from crimes crossing into our borders and to stop illegal immigration. Their job is not intended to be evil or inhumane, it is merely a form of protection for the United States. While their efforts are in no way stopping all crime coming in from our borders, it certainly does help.
In 1997, the settlement agreement for Flores V Reno set national standards on the treatment and placement of minors crossing the border illegally. It states that they should be initially detained before they are released after documentation. This was originally intended for unaccompanied minors, however, it stretched to minors crossing with their parents illegally.
A reason that this was originally implemented was due to human trafficking. If a border agent suspects that children are not related to the adults they are with they are immediately separated in order to stop possible human trafficking, among other things. It’s worth mentioning that this happens with legal immigration as well.
The agreement was established under the Clinton Administration, neglected during the Bush and Obama Administrations, and has been fortified through the Trump Administration.
Despite popular belief, Trump has attempted to help these immigrant families. On June 20, Trump signed the Zero Tolerance Policy to have families kept together “to the extent permitted by the law”.
However, under the law put into practice by the Clinton Administration, families are to be separated when they are caught crossing our border illegally. With this law in place, there is only so much that can be done.
There has been outcry from around the world on the “inhumane” actions of the policy. However, children in America who are legal citizens are separated from their families everyday. In 2015, over 21,000 children were placed in foster care due to the incarceration of their parents. Compare that to the 2,000 children who were separated from their parents at the border.
In both instances, people broke the law. In both instances, the children have to be placed somewhere safe, i.e. not cages. Illegal immigrant children crossing the border are put into sanctuaries where they are given food and shelter for 72 hours.
After the 72 hours, in most cases, the children are sent to the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) to be reunited with their family with whom they crossed the border with, to a family member living in the US, or to a sponsor in the US.
There is no reason that ICE should be abolished. They treat the incoming families the same as we would treat our own citizens who have violated the law. They are not treated inhumanely, and in most cases the children are set free within 72 hours.Olivia Gamble is a Freshman Political Science Major and Fundraiser Chair of the BU Republicans.