Op-Ed: Why We Need to Abolish ICE


Sean McElwee, co-founder of Data for Progress, thinks ICE should be abolished.

“ICE, or Immigration and Customs Enforcement, was created in 2003, as part of post-9/11 legislation that housed immigration enforcement under the Department of Homeland Security,” he explained. “This signaled a shift towards viewing immigrants as the threat to national security.”

After 9/11, immigrants were seen as a terrorist threat, and the policies that followed were created for mass migrant deportation. Trump and Stephen Miller have not only enforced this anti-immigration strategy, but increased it with aggressive, inhumane measures like their zero tolerance policy. ICE has been in the middle of all of this, and have become synonymous with these practices that are tearing families apart and causing long-term residents in the country to self-deport.

“We need to stop deporting people for what is fundamentally the civil violation of being in this country without documentation. We choose as a society what is criminalized and how those laws are enforced,” said McElwee. “We don’t have a militarized police force to prosecute financial crimes because the people who commit those crimes are powerful white men. We have to dismantle not just ICE, but the thousands of small offenses that put people on ICE’s radar. From marijuana possession to turnstile jumping, people enter into ICE’s net through over-criminalization.”

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