Abolishing ICE is the moderate option
March 12, 2018 9:39 AM   Subscribe

“The detainees prioritized by Trump’s approach included community leaders, doting parents and children: a 10-year-old girl with cerebral palsy in San Antonio; a grandmother described as the “backbone” of a Navy veteran’s family; a father of two in Detroit who had lived in the U.S. since he was 10.” 'No One Is Safe.' How Trump’s Immigration Policy Is Splitting Families Apart. (TIME) Created as part of the Department of Homeland Security in 2003, ICE dramatically increased deportations compared to its predecessor, the INS. “Each deportation conducted by ICE cost taxpayers an average of $10,854.” (CNN Money) A mass-deportation strike force is incompatible with democracy and human rights, It’s time to abolish ICE.(The Nation)
posted by The Whelk (61 comments total) 53 users marked this as a favorite
 
Shouldn’t that be “It’s long past time to abolish ICE?”
posted by GenjiandProust at 9:42 AM on March 12 [12 favorites]


"Abolish ICE" is so very dramatic compared to "undo the restructuring that occurred fifteen years ago" but does sound better for channeling outrage on both sides of the aisle. It's a potent slogan.
posted by Going To Maine at 9:44 AM on March 12 [9 favorites]


oh man who could have predicted an organization with such noble origins would become so evil
posted by entropicamericana at 9:45 AM on March 12 [18 favorites]


"Abolish ICE" is so very dramatic compared to "undo the restructuring that occurred fifteen years ago" but does sound better for channeling outrage on both sides of the aisle.

ICE is relatively new, but agencies have a way of sticking around unless there's a concerted effort to reform or disband them. This applies to the whole post-9/11 security apparatus, by the way: we're far enough away from that event that the policies the US adopted then are threatening to become "just the way things are", and not something that is long overdue for critical examination.
posted by Cash4Lead at 9:59 AM on March 12 [19 favorites]


When us white people fall from the top of the imagined social strata, and at the rate we're going we will, everyone else in the world is going to look at our legacy and put the boot so hard on our necks so that we'll never make it out from the bottom.

And we'll deserve it.
posted by Talez at 9:59 AM on March 12 [12 favorites]


does sound better for channeling outrage on both sides of the aisle.

I don't just call for abolishing ICE, but disbanding all of the border security apparatus, and prosecuting the members of it that have perpetrated crimes.
posted by odinsdream at 10:00 AM on March 12 [25 favorites]


I'm usually not pro-doxxing, but fuck, everyone who works for ice should be doxxed
posted by Ferreous at 10:01 AM on March 12 [5 favorites]


Abolishing the Sturmabteilung ICE is the moderate option
March 12, 1934 2018 12:39 PM
posted by CynicalKnight at 10:10 AM on March 12 [15 favorites]


Fuck ICE all the way to the bank.
posted by triage_lazarus at 10:11 AM on March 12 [1 favorite]


Others tend to dismiss ICE abolition as more of a troll than a serious policy demand. Josh Barro, a senior editor at Business Insider, argued that progressives have not paired the proposal with “a plan to do the function without the hated agency.”

Way to miss the point, Josh.
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:11 AM on March 12 [30 favorites]


I’m more concerned with a plan of what to do with all the completely batshit militarized right wingers who will suddenly be out of a job and angry about it when we abolish ICE. Abolish the shit out of that unholy agency and salt everything it ever touched, but like...

We do need a plan. This is a known thing. If you abolish police or military organizations, they don’t go away; they turn into military opposition. It’s how you get civil war.

I am open to throwing many of them in prison, but I fear that is just because I really want it, not because it would avoid civil war.

So. We do need a plan.
posted by schadenfrau at 10:25 AM on March 12 [36 favorites]


Serious question: are the people being deported here in the United States legally?
posted by tgrundke at 10:30 AM on March 12


I’m more concerned with a plan of what to do with all the completely batshit militarized right wingers who will suddenly be out of a job and angry about it when we abolish ICE.

Someone's gotta take away the NRA's guns, that battle might as well be win-win.
posted by Space Coyote at 10:32 AM on March 12 [1 favorite]


ICE as it currently behaves is reprehensible. But what is the reply to Josh Barro's question? If we don't have open borders, isn't some agency necessary to enforce the existing immigration laws?
posted by PhineasGage at 10:36 AM on March 12 [2 favorites]


PreviouslyIn particular “privately run prisons send ICE detainees to solidarity for refusing voluntary labor’ if only there was a word for prisoners with jobs.
posted by The Whelk at 10:38 AM on March 12 [12 favorites]


It's against the law to double park but no one is kidnapping you if you do it.
posted by Space Coyote at 10:39 AM on March 12 [47 favorites]


Serious question: are the people being deported here in the United States legally?

afaik most deportees are here illegally

that said, ICE does some stuff that's not strictly deportations like separating families. And there are a lot of people in the US illegally who ICE isn't deporting and it's not clear that it's just because they're simply too many people - they do seem to be deporting certain groups of people at far higher rates than others.
posted by GuyZero at 10:39 AM on March 12 [8 favorites]


I've been keeping tabs on this at a distance, and it does seem a bit like ICE under Trump is disproportionately targeting sanctuary cities, as a form of petty revenge.

Anyway, here's my plan: disband ICE, charge the folks in charge of running their fucking concentration camps with whatever crimes will stick, fold the low-level guys into TSA so they can get their authoritarian rocks off confiscating people's honey instead of breaking up families.
posted by tobascodagama at 10:44 AM on March 12 [6 favorites]


Serious question: are the people being deported here in the United States legally?

afaik most deportees are here illegally


But, if you fully examine the system "being here illegally" isn't that hard of a thing to do. For many folks, the path to legal citizenship or even legal work visas is so convoluted, costly, and time-consuming that it's beyond their reach. We've got to abolish ICE, indeed. But we've also got to get some rational and fair immigration laws on the books that make it easy, clear, and inexpensive to come to this country. That's the only thing that will actually protect citizens and non-citizens alike.

It's almost like the system we have was intentionally constructed to create an underclass of workers who are perpetually in the shadows and only function within our society at the whim of the ruling class.
posted by teleri025 at 10:45 AM on March 12 [60 favorites]


One reason Hitler "improved" the economy is that he took the financial livelihoods away from several sets of peoples (e.g., Jews, homosexuals) and gave it to the "improved economy" set of people.
I seem the same in ICE and Trump. I've lived in the Southwest and border states with Mexico most of my sixty years. In comparison to today and the Fox-Trump generated killer Mexicans, we used to get along fairly well. Illegal aliens, by and large, obey the law, ducking their heads because they didn't want to get caught.
To me the most hateful aspect of Trump is how he helped changed this.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 10:54 AM on March 12 [18 favorites]


It is interesting how the 'mainstream' conservative Republican leadership (including Paul Ryan) were actually eager to make a deal to reform the immigration system, give citizenship to DACA participants, etc. But then the populist forces took over their party, in part because of gerrymandering, and now they can't say a peep...
posted by PhineasGage at 10:57 AM on March 12 [3 favorites]


I'll just repost from a month ago as the rot starts at the top.
ICE Wants to Be an Intelligence Agency Under Trump.
ICE Director Spouts Anti-Immigrant Trumpisms at San Antonio Border Conference.
Acting ICE director Thomas Homan is quickly becoming one of the most dangerous men in America.
Papers Please.
posted by adamvasco at 10:59 AM on March 12 [6 favorites]


prisoners with jobs

that's much better
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:00 AM on March 12 [3 favorites]


I follow a bunch of local politicians on social media and the commentary in their posts has a LOT to say about the recent bay area ICE raids and Libby Schaaf's decision to make their plans public.

A frequent point of criticism I keep seeing is that 85% of the folks arrested were criminals. The nature of their crimes is not mentioned, I'm not even sure if that information is publically available. They just seem certain that gang members are gone and more would be gone if ICE had been left off the chain.

They are not phased by the fact that that, by their own stats, 15% of the people sitting in detention as a result of those raids were not criminals. They're just people, citizens of neighboring countries, who we locked up for an indeterminate amount of time for the affront of... what? Being under foot? Having a job?

What attrition rate is acceptable? How many harmless people are worth handcuffing and marching out of their jobs and communities if it means catching a given number of Bad Guys? What kind of system are we building here? I don't think these are questions they even consider, and the amount of influence they work up just by bloviating as loudly as possible freaks me out.
posted by Phobos the Space Potato at 11:15 AM on March 12 [14 favorites]


Serious question: are the people being deported here in the United States legally?

Some of them are US citizens. Some of them are natural-born US citizens. ICE is an abomination, and the way it exercises its powers is almost certainly unconstitutional. Detention without counsel in secret locations? How do they get to do that?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 11:26 AM on March 12 [22 favorites]


Also, people are here illegally, are not committing a crime. It is a civil infraction. And in fact it cannot be made a crime, because then the full force of the fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth amendments to the US Constitution would apply.

Warrants would require a high standard of evidence.
They would have limited time in which they could detain people without charges.
They would have to actually gather evidence and have a trial.
They would be open to the charge that breaking up families because someone didn't have their papers in order.
And most importantly, the burden of the proof would be on the state to show that they were not, in fact, US citizens. Which would put anyone with no documents whatesoever in the clear, as there would be no way to disprove a claim that they had been born in the United States.

In fact, the fact that not having your papers in order is merely a civil infraction lets ICE do an end run around the constitution. And, frankly, given their power to cause harm to people, that should not be acceptable if you want half the Bill of Rights to mean a darn thing.
posted by Zalzidrax at 11:36 AM on March 12 [39 favorites]


I mean they didn't need ICE for Operation Wetback in the 50s. Unless you're calling for no immigration enforcement whatsoever rather than bureaucratic reorganization, which admittedly would be pretty radical.
posted by bookman117 at 11:42 AM on March 12 [1 favorite]


that said, ICE does some stuff that's not strictly deportations like separating families.

"Wait what? Did you say "eat people"? Are you a cannibal, Caleb?"

"Well, that's not how I would define myself. If we're going by what I'm most passionate about, I would say that I'm a woodworker."
posted by stet at 11:51 AM on March 12 [4 favorites]


Unless you're calling for no immigration enforcement whatsoever rather than bureaucratic reorganization, which admittedly would be pretty radical.

Capital crosses borders just fine, so what's the justification for inhibiting the free movement of actual people?
posted by tobascodagama at 11:57 AM on March 12 [24 favorites]


I likeds Trump's threat to withdraw ICE from California. Many a Californian responded with - "Golly, you'd do that for us? How soon?"
posted by Toddles at 12:06 PM on March 12 [11 favorites]


But what is the reply to Josh Barro's question?

"A new agency that isn't full of racist jackasses." This is really not rocket science.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 12:07 PM on March 12 [4 favorites]


I‘m a fully legal immigrant on a path to citizenship. All i’s dotted, all t’s crossed. Dealing with USCIS is a costly, complicated, drawn-out process that can go wrong in a million ways. I‘m 100% sure, if the authorities would look for a flaw in my immigration history, they would be able to find one. That‘s true for every immigrant.

The thing is, I‘m white, from a ‚good‘ country (almost as good as Norway), my family is wealthy, so it‘s unlikely that anyone is ever going to look for flaws or irregularities. But don‘t kid yourself - everyone can be made into an ‚illegal‘ once ICE starts looking. Just like every driver will commit an infraction if only the cop trails him long enough ...a missed signal, a rolled stop sign...but of course they only trail certain groups of drivers.

‚Legality‘ is a red herring.
posted by The Toad at 12:08 PM on March 12 [52 favorites]


Serious question: are the people being deported here in the United States legally?

From a report by Jacqueline Stevens:
Recent data suggests that in 2010 well over 4,000 U.S. citizens were detained or deported as aliens, raising the total since 2003 to more than 20,000
Via this Vice article.

You don't have to be deported to be have your life be ruined. Here's a case of three years of detention for a US citizen. No compensation after his release.

Aside from the issue of deporting legal U.S. citizens, we should not as a nation be deporting people who are culturally American, particularly children who've only known the U.S. as a home. They are American without U.S. citizenship. Our deportations should be as compassionate as possible. Don't suddenly disappear members of a community. Don't tear apart families. Deportation is painful enough as it is. Enforce our laws in a way that minimizes trauma to fellow human beings.

Or better yet, change the laws. U.S. immigration law has been white supremacist from the start.
posted by Mister Cheese at 12:23 PM on March 12 [26 favorites]


"legally" is just another way of saying "those people" while you consider yourself non-racist.

Jesus, odds are the fucking first lady is an "illegal immigrant" by the standards they're using to toss people out now.
posted by maxwelton at 12:42 PM on March 12 [29 favorites]


Serious question: are the people being deported here in the United States legally?

It's not whether you are in the US "legally" or "illegally" -- it's whether you can show proof of legal right to be present/reside/work here. Plenty of U.S. citizens by birth are undocumented for any number of reasons -- fleeing domestic violence and/or being the victim of identification abuse, natural disasters, lack of birth records from certain areas/times, etc. There is no "legal" or "illegal," there is only what you can prove. Right now, we are allowing the government to deport or detain people because they do not have sufficient documentary proof of their right to remain.

If you were dropped into a random place in America with no ID and no money, would you be able to prove you have the legal right to remain if you were immediately stopped by an ICE agent? How long do you think it would take you to get sufficient proof? Now imagine you don't speak the language well, or you have a learning disability, or you don't have family you can safely contact.
posted by melissasaurus at 12:47 PM on March 12 [20 favorites]


Serious question: are the people being deported here in the United States legally?

Serious reply: Are you here legally? Are you sure? How sure? How far back do you have to go in your family before you aren't sure?
posted by odinsdream at 12:48 PM on March 12 [10 favorites]


But, if you fully examine the system "being here illegally" isn't that hard of a thing to do.

Quite often it's something that happens to you even if you jump through all the hoops. My ex was out of status for awhile simply because of the backlog of applications meant that USCIS wasn't even going to look at her paperwork in time.
posted by nathan_teske at 1:08 PM on March 12 [7 favorites]


Nevermind that the US didn't even have immigration quotas until the gold rush times, and then it was explicitly racist and designed to keep out Chinese people.And then they expanded it to include 'whtie countries, too, because you had literally half the population of Ireland and Scandinavia coming over, as well as Poles, italians, Germans and all sorts of people. And apart from the explicit racism, the arguments were the exact same: It's too crowded here! They'll take our jobs! They're dangerous and are bringing their dangerous alcohol addiction here. They're not like us and won't integrate! You'd better believe if there were any actual threat of immigration from Norway today, those conservatives would be raising a hue and cry about an invasion of stubbornly un-American feminist socialists who smell like rotten fish.

And you know what happened in the generation or two after all this immigration? American became a superpower, that's what. The wealthiest nation in the history of the planet. All these arguments against immigration, they turned out to be wrong.

America's population growth has pretty much always been supported by immigration. We have had vast, uncontrollable land borders that people have wandered back and forth across for most of that history.

Heck, my great-grandfather famously refused to speak English, only Finnish. He fled to Canada with his brother to escape Tsar Nicolas II draft and his "Russification" project. Somehow, he ended up in the US. And I've looked at the immigration quotas for Finland around that time. It wasn't a whole lot of people. What are the odds that some guy who didn't speak English in the middle of the woods in the Upper Midwest actually had any sort of documentation? And now one of my uncles considers himself so American that he's one of those anti-immigrant Trumpists. It took America treating people as normal two generations to accomplish what the full might of the Russian empire could not - cultural erasure and assimilation.

Make no mistake, the amount of data and documentation that has come to exist in modern times, makes a level of enforcement of these laws possible that never was before. Just keeping the laws as they are is a drastic change to the character of American immigration, and a change to the character of America itself. It is a level of documenting and control by the government that anyone who considers themselves "conservative" would do very well to distrust.

And the laws themselves. They started out explicitly racist. There's nothing I can point to where anyone made them not racist, so it's pretty safe to assume that they're still racist. All the "not race based" arguments for immigration restriction have been shown to be overblown or outright false by the course of American history. Look, I am a scientist. I like facts. I like studies and empirical evidence. I have not seen any that actually support restricting immigration. Especially not to the extent the US does today.

The change averse, fact based, moderate position is to roll back immigration restrictions slowly until there starts being evidence of an actual problem that doesn't lie with racists stirring up trouble.

(Just to be clear, when I say immigration restrictions - I'm not talking about border controls, I'm talking about limiting the time that people can stay who we've already decided should be able to enter the country)
posted by Zalzidrax at 1:17 PM on March 12 [27 favorites]


Make no mistake, the amount of data and documentation that has come to exist in modern times, makes a level of enforcement of these laws possible that never was before. Just keeping the laws as they are is a drastic change to the character of American immigration, and a change to the character of America itself. It is a level of documenting and control by the government that anyone who considers themselves "conservative" would do very well to distrust.

This this this this this.

We need to drastically change how we're thinking of border enforcement, because we're looking at enormous human rights violations that are destroying lives. It's an urgent, urgent issue.
posted by odinsdream at 1:21 PM on March 12 [9 favorites]


isn't some agency necessary to enforce the existing immigration laws?

Not specifically, no. In some countries, such as Germany IIRC, deportations are carried out by normal police. This is an important distinction. There is no agency whose primary function is to apprehend and deport those in Germany illegally.
posted by andrewpcone at 3:32 PM on March 12 [3 favorites]


In Canada the RCMP and the BSA have a joint task force in some areas, The Immigration Task Force (ITF), but it's really mostly just regular RCMP officers arresting people who already have warrants out against them. It's not a special agency.
posted by GuyZero at 4:05 PM on March 12 [3 favorites]


ICE as it currently behaves is reprehensible. But what is the reply to Josh Barro's question? If we don't have open borders, isn't some agency necessary to enforce the existing immigration laws?

We managed without ICE until 2003. I think we’ll be okay.

Undocumented immigration is a complete non-problem for the US. In fact, it’s a positive. I can’t get all bothered with “but who, oh, who will removed the best-behaved hardest-working people from our shores?” Immigration enforcement could be completely passive. If someone gets arrested for a violent crime and the local DA discovers they don’t have standing to be in the US, add that to the charges and initiate deportation if you want. Fine. But we don’t need an organization of racist thugs looking for opportunities to rip children away from their parents, or vice versa. Shut it down.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 4:28 PM on March 12 [20 favorites]


The arguments that we need to deport "violent criminals", even, is basically an acknowledgement that 1) it's okay, we'll just drop the violent people back in Whereveristan, we must protect our children and 2) we'd love to send American citizens to penal colonies but there's nowhere convenient and deporting citizens is probably illegal. But if it's a good reason to deport a felon who's been here decades, it's a good reason to deport someone who was born here.

The only reason this isn't much worse is the 14th amendment and the endurance of birthright citizenship. If these people could, they would strip citizenship from "anchor babies" and kick them out too, and Trump has advocated it (he's been a bit quiet on that front recently).
posted by BungaDunga at 6:38 PM on March 12 [6 favorites]


ICE was created post 9/11 but its functions existed well before that, most specifically relevant to this discussion as the INS.
posted by PhineasGage at 8:09 PM on March 12 [4 favorites]


I'm fairly sure birthright citizenship is what's next to go.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:15 PM on March 12 [5 favorites]


I remember when Shrub announced the creation of the Department of Homeland Security. I always thought the choice of the word “Homeland” had fascistic overtones. I guess ICE heard those overtones as a beautiful song to be blasted at full volume.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 8:31 PM on March 12 [18 favorites]


Jesus, odds are the fucking first lady is an "illegal immigrant" by the standards they're using to toss people out now.

Insufficient whiteness?
posted by non canadian guy at 8:53 PM on March 12 [1 favorite]


Insufficient whiteness?

I am 99% confident from the evidence presented to us that she worked here illegally when she immigrated and abused the type of visa she had.

To be clear, I don't care, she's welcome here, preferably without her odious husband. But brown people born here are being deported (to where?) for less.
posted by maxwelton at 10:45 PM on March 12 [8 favorites]


I was on Metafilter when Department of Homeland Security was formed, and we could probably find comments from me, at the time, about the creepy third reich feel to the name.

Still creeps me out. One of my wishes for Obama was to rename and reorg.

Dismantle it all.
posted by yesster at 6:57 AM on March 13 [5 favorites]


Also, it occurs to me that there's an assumption that abolishing ICE would eliminate all US border agencies. Which personally I would have no trouble with, but it wouldn't even do that. ICE doesn't actually have anything to do with the borders, because CBP -- a completely separate agency under the DHS umbrella -- handles that. Citizenship and Immigration Services is yet another agency entirely.

"Enforcement" is the key word in ICE's name. They're just cops.
posted by tobascodagama at 8:17 AM on March 13 [5 favorites]


ICE spokesman resigns, citing fabrications by agency chief, Sessions about Calif. immigrant arrests.
posted by adamvasco at 9:17 AM on March 13 [4 favorites]




There is a limit, economically, to the number of people we can accept in any given year. For the moment, thanks to years of difficult and asinine procedures to legally reside in the US, that number is likely lower than the number of people who would come if we just opened up the borders.

That said, the number is probably an order of magnitude higher than current quotas (much less processing times!) allow. The point is that it takes a little time for the increased demand to translate into jobs so there is a rational basis for some limit on applications for resident visas.

I suspect that drastically increasing the number of visas that can be issued each year and streamlining the process so it doesn't take months in the very best cases and years normally to come here legally would also drastically reduce the number of people overstaying temporary visas and crossing the border illegally.

That would be bad for the businesses that supply all the crap CBP and ICE buy to support their bloated workforce, though, so it'll never happen. After all, if CBP only has to worry about a few drug mules they wouldn't need nearly as many helicopters or trucks or guns or body armor or night vision goggles. That's a serious dent in the bottom line for the contractors supplying such goods. And running the camps.

The short term health in the share price of a few well connected defense contractors outweighs the long term benefit to everyone increased immigration brings. That's simply not allowed in the US now that the government has been taken over by the corporate raiders who took over the economy in the late 20th century.

The sovereign wealth funds of our equivalent of the peerage simply make too much money from government contracts through their ownership stakes in all those "government service" firms to allow any shrinkage in the security state.
posted by wierdo at 11:47 AM on March 13 [3 favorites]


Cross-posting my comment in a recent politics thread because it's relevant here:
Operation Janus is DOJ program targeting naturalized citizens for denaturalization. They have already succeeded in revoking the citizenship of Baljinder Singh, a native of India who had been a citizen for 11 years, because he "was granted citizenship without proper fingerprint records, meaning before fingerprints were digitized...Operation Janus identified 315,000 cases in which people were granted citizenship without the proper fingerprint data available, and USCIS intends 'to refer approximately an additional 1,600 for prosecution.'"

Relatedly, if you want to stay informed about immigration issues, Rewire News immigration reporter Tina Vasquez is doing amazing work at translating the complex legalities of our immigration system and bringing attention to the (often heartbreaking) stories of people who are caught in the system. She's the author of both pieces I linked above. She's also a great follow on Twitter.
posted by joedan at 1:17 PM on March 13 [6 favorites]






Ice contactor says itdoesn't use solitary confinement. Photos of its isolation cells reveal otherwise.
posted by adamvasco at 2:02 PM on March 23 [3 favorites]


ICE, the federal agency tasked with Trump’s program of mass deportation, uses backend Facebook data to locate and track immigrants that it is working to round up, according to a string of emails and documents obtained by The Intercept through a public records request
posted by adamvasco at 7:01 PM on March 26 [1 favorite]




I thought that Israel was willing to hold Nazi war criminals, can't he be sent there?
posted by ActingTheGoat at 12:58 PM on March 28




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