Give ICE Sensible Law To Enforce
The Trump administration’s ill-considered separation of migrant parents and children at southern border crossings ignited not only outrage among millions of Americans but some really bad ideas. Some Democrats called for eliminating the Department of Homeland Security Immigrantion and Customs Enforcement, better known as ICE, the federal agency for executing immigration policy. There is no doubt that ICE agents have used heavy-handed tactics in carrying out administration policies. Incidents range from excessive use of force to detaining people in court as they press their own claims against employers who have shorted their pay, landlords and so on. In some cases, immigrants have been detained while in court seeking legal status. In December, Judge Leo T. Sorokin of the U.S. District Court in Boston ordered the release of a Yale University-educated Kenyan national who had been detained for nearly a year. Sorokin blasted ICE’s “repeated errors,” which he said suggested “negligence, incompetence, or bad faith on the part of the agency.” None of that warrants the elimination of the agency, however, because immigration enforcement is a vital and valid function. The problem is Congress’ long-standing inability or refusal to enact comprehensive, sensible immigration law that would ensure fair resolutions for immigrants already in the United States, while ensuring border security. The best way to restrain ICE is to give it a sensible law to enforce. Eliminating the agency only would further demonize immigrants rather than resolve the immigration issue.