TEDy: Cooling Tempers Over Ice

Calls to dismantle Immigration and Customs Enforcement, more commonly known as ICE, have spiked recently due to a particular arrest that occurred at a gas station on a Saturday in August. These complaints are misdirected.

On that Saturday in Los Angeles, an immigrant couple stopped at a gas station on the way to the hospital. Maria del Carmen Venegas was pregnant. Immediately after pulling in, ICE vans surrounded their vehicle and asked for the couple’s papers. Venegas provided her identification, but explained that her husband left his at home in the rush to get to the hospital.

Venegas was forced to drive herself to the hospital in tears, delivering her baby in the absence of her husband. This lead to intensive public outcry.

However, the public needs to understand that ICE’s job is not solely to arrest illegal immigrants. They play significant roles in combating human trafficking and intellectual property theft, extremely prevalent problems especially in California.

ICE was forced to release the reason the arrest was made; the man’s outstanding arrest warrant for murder in Mexico. Predictably as it is in 2018, this was met with more backlash as the public shifted from complaining about unreasonable arrests to “character assassination,” or the release of negative information regarding arrested immigrants. ICE is painted in a bad light no matter their actions.

Getting rid of the agency is not the answer. The real problem lies with the administration laying out the policies ICE is to enforce. Trump’s zero tolerance policy has resulted in many tragic events, most notably the separation of hundreds of kids at the US-Mexico border earlier this year. However, Democrats choose to focus their energy on ICE rather than its master.

Before the infamous agency was established, other organizations carried out the same roles as ICE. If it was shut down like protesters are asking for, the policies determined by the administration would still be carried out in some form.

Furthering this point, the arrests are not the end of injustice for immigrants. Under the Trump administration, it is common for these people to be held  in poor conditions and to not receive public defenders, according to Snopes. Additionally, many are handcuffed and shackled during civil proceedings. The administration is even trying to detain immigrants indefinitely while their immigration cases are pending, highlighting the true source of struggle for migrants.

All current protesters of ICE, including students, should instead put their effort toward flipping House and Senate seats in November and eventually electing a president who will direct the immigration agency’s efforts and resources toward more noble and morally correct endeavors such as the campaign against human trafficking.

As we progress through this turbulent time, we should heed Obama-era ICE director  John Sandweg’s words: “It should be an ‘abolish Trump’ movement, not an ‘abolish ICE’ movement.”