There are ICE agents these days who are involved in really cruel and unjust deportation practices. What the delusional Trump supporters usually miss is that Donald Trump is a massive criminal himself, as the current president is both a war criminal and a systematic violator of the Constitution (the Emoluments Clause particularly) on a daily basis. The legal and moral scale of Trump’s crimes far outweigh the crimes of people whose main “crime” stems from merely being in the U.S. on an illegal basis.
The policies of the Trump administration are overwhelmingly damaging the middle class, working class, and poor voters who voted for the fraudulent president. There’s the Trump administration policies of planning on devastating cuts to programs such as Medicaid and food stamps in tax cuts that benefit the rich, throwing millions off medical insurance, repealing the fiduciary rule, and undoing the Stream Protection Rule. And then there’s preventing millions of home buyers from having less expensive mortgages under a previous policy, lessening consumer privacy protections on the Internet, not lowering prescription drug prices by allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices, as well as proposing a giant scam of an infrastructure project that would create terrible toll roads. The list goes on, but more important distinctions of the damaging Trump agenda are being unsupportive of clean energy initiatives that would provide good significant employment, trying to repeal net neutrality, attempting to worsen the War on Drugs, and wasting taxpayer funds with unnecessary, expensive wars overseas. There’s much else besides that too, of course. It’s rather striking that a sizable base of support still remains after all of that.
With arrests of non-violent undocumented immigrants exploding across the country, it’s almost as if Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice) agents are having an internal contest to see who can participate in the most cruel and inhumane arrest possible. The agency, emboldened by Trump’s xenophobic rhetoric, is out of control – and Congress is doing little to stop them.
Last week, Ice agents ate breakfast at a Michigan restaurant, complimented the chef on their meal and then proceeded to arrest three members of the restaurants kitchen staff, according to the owner.
Depraved stories like this are now almost too prevalent to comprehensively count: Ice has arrested undocumented immigrants showing up for scheduled green card appointments at a US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office. They’ve arrested a father after dropping his daughter off at school. An Ice detainee was even removed forcefully against her will from a hospital where she was receiving treatment for a brain tumor.
In a particularly dangerous policy, Ice been arresting people inside US courthouses around the country. “Attorneys and prosecutors in California, Arizona, Texas and Colorado have all reported teams of Ice agents – some in uniform, some not – sweeping into courtrooms or lurking outside court complexes, waiting to arrest immigrants who are in the country illegally,” reported the LA Times in March.
It apparently doesn’t matter that the agency has faced stiff resistance from judges and prosecutors over this policy, who have both claimed that it will mean people won’t show up to court. And fears are not just conjecture: a Denver city attorney was recently forced to drop four domestic violence cases because the witnesses were too afraid to come into court for fear of being deported.
Many groups, including the ACLU, have also accused Ice of targeting non-violent activists who protest the Trump administration’s increasingly draconian immigration policy with arrest.
While the anecdotes are horrifying, the numbers tell a similar story. Arrests of undocumented immigrants have increased substantially over Trump’s first few months in office. According to numbers released by the government, over Trump’s first 100 days, Ice arrested over 41,000 individuals – a 37.6% increase over a year earlier, which they openly bragged about on the Ice website.
Worse, the arrests of non-violent immigrants with no criminal record whatsoever has exploded, more than doubling from 4,242 people to 10,845 over the same period from 2016 to 2017. And as the Daily Beast reported on Tuesday: “Men and women held by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement are on pace to die at double the rate of those who died in Ice custody last year.”
It’s not just the fear of arrest that is gripping immigrant communities. In addition to the Trump administration stripping away due process protections for arrested immigrants via executive order, the US justice department has even attempted to cut off legal representation for some immigrants – a horrific move by anyone’s standards.
Last month, the justice department tried to prevent an immigrant not-for-profit group in Seattle from giving immigrants legal assistance like filling out paperwork, unless they offer them full representation in court. Thankfully, a judge temporarily blocked the move, but it’s just one more example of the Trump administration almost unbelievably cruel policy towards the nation’s 11 million undocumented immigrants.
Early in his presidency, Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer, said the president wanted to “take the shackles off” Ice agents so they could conduct more arrests, eerily echoing the CIA’s comments post-9/11 that they would “take the gloves off” in response to the terrorist attack.
The CIA followed that statement with a years-long, worldwide torture program that violated domestic and international law for which they still have not been held accountable, and it’s increasingly clear Ice is following a similar path.
While some Democrats have introduced bills to curtail some of Ice’s most egregious transgressions, Republicans, who control both houses of Congress, have shown little if any interest in reining in Ice. The agency is so harmful to civil rights, there’s a good argument it should be disbanded altogether, but unfortunately it seems they are only becoming more emboldened with each passing week.