Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Un agente de Inmigracion y Control de Aduanas de los Estados Unidos arresta a un sospechoso.

ICE Under Scrutiny as Arrests Continue

October 25, 2018

Throughout the past two years, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has taken a center stage in the public eye. It is praised by some, criticized by others, and always under intense scrutiny, as the work it does is often another cause of partisan divide.

Some regard ICE fondly with a sense of patriotism. They believe the work ICE does protects everyday Americans. For others, the thought of ICE brings up images of chaos and terror, children being ripped from their mothers’ arms, and guns pointed at innocent people.

ICE was created in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, replacing the INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service). While the laws that ICE enforces haven’t changed since the replacement of the Obama administration with the Trump administration, the way they are enforced is controlled by the President, often through executive orders.

Under President Trump’s first 14 months in office the numbers of arrests and deportations increased compared to Obama’s last years in office, and are projected to continue rising.

The amount of arrests made by ICE have tripled compared to the final months of Obama’s administration, according to an NBC News study published in August. Federal arrests of undocumented immigrants with no criminal records has surged 203%, from 19,128 people to 58,010, and arrests of immigrants with a criminal record have rose by 18%.

What’s really different about this enforcement action is that they are literally doing roving stops, whether by car or on foot, stopping people without any sort of articulable facts.

— Mark Fleming

The Obama administration made more arrests than any president before him: upwards of two million during his eight years in office. Many even called him the “deporter-in-chief.” Yet the difference that seems to separate the Obama and Trump administration is that ICE under Obama targeted those convicted of a serious crime, gang members, and other threats to national security, while the Trump administration seems to target all undocumented immigrants, regardless of past criminal activity.

“Many aliens who illegally enter the United States and those who overstay or otherwise violate the terms of their visas present a significant threat to national security and public safety. This is particularly so for aliens who engage in criminal conduct in the United States,” said President Trump in an executive order signed in January 2017.

Many attribute the rise in arrests to new tactics of finding undocumented immigrants. ICE no longer uses search warrants to seek out potential undocumented immigrants. People walking down the street or driving in their car could be stopped and detained at any moment. There are even random sweeps and mass arrests at workplaces.

“What’s really different about this enforcement action is that they are literally doing roving stops, whether by car or on foot, stopping people without any sort of articulable facts,” said Mark Fleming from the National Immigrant Justice Center.

Americans often attribute family separation at the border to ICE, even though ICE is only in charge of deporting those already inside the US. Customs and Border Protection controls the borders. It is because of President Trump’s “zero tolerance policy” that adults are being immediately arrested at the border by the CBP, separating them from their children.

These changes won’t affect CUSD. California Education Code protects students from discrimination on the basis of their race or immigration status.

“Federal law provides for equal access to a public elementary and secondary education regardless of a child’s actual or perceived race…citizenship, immigration status or the status of their parents/guardians,” said Superintendent Kristen Vital in an email sent to all CUSD families in 2017.

Not many of the laws that ICE follows have changed, but the “net” ICE is using to catch undocumented immigrants has widened due to the new administration. Many who had a sense of security at the end of the Obama administration are now questioning the safety they once felt.

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