Trump Defends ICE as Thousands Across the Country Protest Family Separation

Trump Defends ICE as Thousands Across the Country Protest Family Separation
Trump Defends ICE as Thousands Across the Country Protest Family Separation

As protesters across the country today demand that children be reunited with their families on the southwest US border, President Donald Trump defended the work of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

I have watched ICE liberate towns from the grasp of MS-13 & clean out the toughest of situations.

The agency is under mounting pressure amid a string of recent developments that have put ICE in a less-than-flattering light.

Earlier this week, the Texas Observer reported that 19 senior ICE investigators asked DHS Secretary Kristjen Nielsen to spin the Homeland Security Investigations division out of ICE. “HSI’s 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 19 special agents in charge, adding that “The perception of HSI’s investigative independence is unnecessarily impacted by the political nature” of immigration enforcement.

On Thursday, as former ICE Spokesman James Schwab was giving an interview to a Bay Area television station, agents from the Department of Homeland Security interrupted the interview to question Schwab about whether he leaked information about ICE enforcement operations to Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf back in February, prompting her to make a public warning about upcoming raids.

The following day, the DHS Inspector General’s Office issued a blistering report about ICE detention facilities, alleging that a lack of consistent oversight has led to “Well-documented deficiencies that facilities commit to fixing routinely remain uncorrected for years” and “Facilities failing to notify ICE about alleged or proven sexual assaults.”

The heightened attention to ICE has also come from people like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the upset winner of a New York City primary earlier this week, who has led the calls to abolish the agency and reorganize immigration enforcement in the US. Several other prominent Democrats have joined her call, including Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio.


Seeking split from ICE, agents say Trump’s immigration crackdown hurts investigations, morale

Seeking split from ICE, agents say Trump’s immigration crackdown hurts investigations, morale

Though ICE is primarily known for immigration enforcement, the agency has two distinct divisions: Enforcement and Removal Operations, which carries out immigration arrests and deportations, and HSI, the transnational investigative branch with a broad focus on counterterrorism, narcotics enforcement, human trafficking and other crimes.

The letter signed by 19 special agents in charge urges Nielsen to split HSI from ICE, because anger at ERO immigration practices is harming the entire agency’s reputation and undermining other law enforcement agencies’ willingness to cooperate, the agents told Nielsen.

Since President Trump’s inauguration, the state of California and several of the country’s largest cities have barred their law enforcement agents from cooperating with ICE by declaring themselves “Sanctuary” jurisdictions.

In recent months the agency has resumed carrying out large-scale workplace raids, winning glowing praise from the president, who said at a rally in North Dakota on Wednesday that ICE agents are “Mean but have heart,” and that they are “Liberating” U.S. communities from the MS-13 gang.

ICE’s acting director, Thomas D. Homan, has been a vocal Trump supporter and an unabashed enthusiast of the president’s immigration agenda.

The official called the notion of breaking up ICE “a non-starter” and said it was inappropriate for the agents to go outside established internal channels to take their gripes directly to Nielsen in a letter that quickly leaked to reporters.

The Abolish ICE movement has gained new momentum in recent weeks amid public outcry over the Trump administration’s “Zero tolerance” crackdown that separated more than 2,500 migrant children from their parents along the Mexico border.

Miami's Top Homeland Security Agent Wants to Distance His Force From ICE's Deportations

Miami’s Top Homeland Security Agent Wants to Distance His Force From ICE’s Deportations

Candidates are running on abolishing ICE. And now, 19 special agents in charge of major-city Homeland Security offices have kinda-sorta gotten onboard.

Those 19 agents signed a letter asking Homeland Security Secretary Kristjen Nielsen to dissolve their own agency and instead create two new ones, because they believe the Trump administration’s focus on arresting, imprisoning, and deporting noncriminal immigrants is detracting from the agency’s ability to, say, investigate things such as human trafficking or child pornography.

The agents want ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations unit separated from the agency’s Enforcement and Removal Operations wing, which employs the agents seen on the news arresting random undocumented people selling flowers, for example.

Despite being relatively unknown by the public, HSI is obscenely powerful: According to documents first posted by MuckRock, HSI has a gigantic, snaking web of offices on every continent in the world.

In February, the Intercept and the independent media outlet Unicorn Riot published internal HSI handbooks that showed agency investigators very explicitly instructing their agents on how to skirt the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment protections regarding illegal searches and seizures.

In their letter – which was also signed by HSI heads in New York City, Los Angeles, Houston, Phoenix, and many other major U.S. cities, as well as Washington, D.C. – the HSI leaders noted that Trump’s hardline deportation rhetoric has discouraged informants from reporting major crimes to HSI or working with Homeland Security investigators.

“Many jurisdictions continue to refuse to work with HSI because of a perceived linkage to the politics of civil immigration. Other jurisdictions agree to partner with HSI as long as the ‘ICE’ name is excluded from any public facing information.”

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Trump Defends ICE as Thousands Across the Country Protest Family Separation
Seeking split from ICE, agents say Trump’s immigration crackdown hurts investigations, morale
Seeking a split from ICE, agents say Trump’s immigration crackdown hurts investigations, morale
Miami’s Top Homeland Security Agent Wants to Distance His Force From ICE’s Deportations

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