Since President Trump came into office, ICE, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, increased arrests by 40 percent. Most recently, the organization has come under massive public scrutiny recently for separating parents from children at the US border. Activist, including Cynthia Nixon, are calling for its abolition altogether.
Yesterday, while speaking at a church in Manhattan's Upper West Side, Nixon said, "ICE has strayed so far away from its mission. It is supposed to be here to keep Americans safe but what it has turned into frankly is a terrorist organization of its own that is terrorizing people who are coming to this country." The church where Nixon was speaking is providing Debora Vasquez-Barrios with sanctuary. ICE is trying to deport her over a traffic violation, Refinery 29 reports.
Other liberals have also been calling for the abolition of ICE. People yelled "abolish ICE!" while heckling Homeland Security Secretary Kristjen Nielsen, and politicians like Deb Halaand, who is running to potentially be the first Native American woman in Congress, has also critiqued ICE as part of her platform.
The organization was created in 2003, a time marked by rampant xenophobia post 9/11. It was tasked with arresting and deporting undocumented immigrants, even if they don't have a criminal record. It is one of three branches of the Department of Homeland Security, which replaced the Immigration and Naturalization Service that had existed since 1933. Since then, the agency has regularly gone after communities of color, often deporting them to countries they haven't lived in for decades.
Some Democrats, including Senator and potential 2020 Presidential candidate Kamala Harris, have supported the organization. She said, "When we're talking about people who have committed serious and violent crimes... I believe there needs to be serious, severe, and swift consequence when people commit serious and violent crimes."
Image via BFA.