The cruelty of ICE officials is disqualifying, and the organization deserves no future.
That, in my mind, is the only possible takeaway from a report today in Rolling Stone that collects some of the witness testimony emerging from State of Washington, et al., v. Donald Trump, the ongoing litigation filed by the state in opposition to Trump’s family separation policy. The testimony Tim Dickinson extracts from the documents, all given by parents who had their children taken away thanks to the policy, serve as yet another reminder of ICE and our immigration official’s malice against asylum seekers.
Some examples, from various testimonies:
Most devastating of all, the Officers said I would never see my daughter again. When the Officers told me this, I felt like collapsing and dying….“When I asked why, the Officers said that I had ‘endangered’ her by bringing her here… During this same conversation one of the officers asked me ‘In Guatemala do they celebrate mother’s day?’ When I answered yes he said, ‘Then Happy Mother’s Day,’ because the next Sunday was Mother’s day.
When I first spoke with ICE officers, they told us, ‘Why did you come from your country?’, ‘Don’t you know that we hate you people?’, ‘We don’t want you in our country.’
My son was with me. The following day the officer told me that they were going to take my son to shower. And they sent me somewhere else, and they never returned with my son.
When we arrived to the United States on May 18, the officers said… when would we stop coming? [and] that it would be better if a bomb were set off in our countries…. From there, my son Jelsin and I were separated….While I was in the icebox, I was able to talk to an officer and I told him that I was afraid of returning to Honduras for the reasons I have stated. He told me I was going to be deported without my son. He told me I would be able to ask for my son 45 days after arriving in Honduras. Upon hearing this, I knelt down crying. The officer only laughed.”
For the record, the Trump administration said yesterday that they would miss the court-imposed deadline for unifying the 102 children under the age of 5 that were separated from their families. There are lingering doubts about the Department of Homeland Security’s ability to reunify all the families in the first place.
The idea of abolishing ICE has gained steam in recent weeks among liberal circles that would’ve previously likely dismissed such a concept as too radical. Multiple senators are now openly calling for the end of ICE, an organization created in 2002 under President Bush.
Predictably, there has been an intense pushback to abolishing ICE from the right, which, again, predictably, have attempted to obfuscate the issue as another emotional, unrealistic proposal shackled to establishment Democrats by an insurgent left. Here are the editors of the National Review summarizing the Mainstream Republican Thinker response:
We would be happy to discuss ways to reform ICE and make it a more effective tool of internal enforcement. That is not the conversation Democrats want to have. “Abolish ICE” is at once an empty rhetorical flourish, a poorly conceived policy, and a sign of how much the Democrats have radicalized on immigration.
Everyone should ignore the National Review.
(Generally good advice, but specifically on the Abolish ICE issue.)
This is not a debate worth engaging them on, because it is a debate that they have constructed and will lead (intentionally, I’d imagine) to nowhere.
The conservatives want this debate to get bogged down in the specifics, but the reality of the situation is much simpler than that: ICE’s actions are a terrible abuse of power with demonstrated malice that should be corrected. That’s it.
The testimony of parents and the countless accounts we have seen since the Trump administration emboldened ICE with a broader mandate point to an organization that is not only executing a morally-repugnant agenda but doing so in a way that is reprehensible cruel.* Mocking parents as you deceitfully separate them from their children crosses the line from “an arguable policy position” to “a horrific humanitarian crisis that must immediately be corrected.”
The entire organization deserves to be disbanded for this simple fact. It is an organization associated with horrific actions and it clearly has a culture that allows these actions.
Any other discussion on this topic—be it the logistical procedure of separating ICE’s human traffic investigators from the purge or the question of what will come in ICE’s place—are being predominantly pushed by dishonest questioners who by-and-large support the core mission of ICE’s actions but are too cowardly to admit it because of the unseemliness of the stories that have come out.
No one saying Abolish ICE believes that it is the only answer to what we are seeing at the border. Calling for ICE’s abolishment is the first step and, as every day seems only to underline, it is a necessary step.
*An important note I’m trying to say as much as possible: The brutality of ICE is nothing new to the people who have been subjected to it for years. I and everyone else should have done a much better job listening to them before this.