ICE Raids Nationwide – How These Sweeps Are Affecting The U.S.

President Trump has announced earlier this month that the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency plans to conduct raids targeting immigrants with the intent of returning them to their country of origin. Beginning in ten major cities including Miami, Denver, Houston, and Los Angeles, Trump’s hope is to use these cities as a kick start to eventually build enough momentum to move throughout the continental United States. He claims to focus predominantly on undocumented immigrants with a criminal record, those who have missed a court appearance, or missed a court-ordered removal, however thousands have been targeted who do not fit these qualifications and many have been arrested thus far. This act has caused fear among immigrants who have lived peacefully in the U.S. since their immigration, anger among allies of our immigrant sector, and protests by those recognizing the immorality of such raids, especially in a country that boasts the highest of democratic values.

According to CNN’s interview with a senior immigration official this February, ICE sent approximately 2,000 letters to families who already had received final orders of removal asking them to self-report to ICE offices by March. The ongoing operations are expected to target those recipients, equating to be approximately 2,000 immigrants. As news outlets continue reporting on the ICE, the agency struggles to stay one step ahead in executing these raids. The level of exposing publicity and information regarding the operation is proving to pose difficulties for ICE to make arrests. Nonetheless, ICE continues to persevere. 

Many feel as though these raids pose striking historical parallels to catastrophic events like the Holocaust, Apartheid acts, and policies fueled by racist sentiment globally. Anti-ICE protestors have used these similarities as the cornerstone for their argument against these immigrant arrests. By using these events as a ‘worst case’ example, it provokes fear that the U.S. may be on the brink of another systemic genocide or extermination. 

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, along with many other respected politicians, continue to remain outspoken on these topics despite the harsh backlash faced by the Republican hold over the Senate. Ocasio-Cortez has risen quickly in the world of American politics, recognized for her democratic-socialist values and her relatively young age. In a video that she posted, Ocasio-Cortez discusses her opinion on ICE, “I don’t believe that an agency that systematically and repeatedly violates human rights, I don’t think that agency can be reformed… I think it has to be abolished, and I think we can figure out a new way of doing things.” Her view on the incapability to move forward with the agency illustrates her belief of the corruption of ICE and the raids mandated by Trump happening now. 

The ICE’s page on the Department of Homeland Security Website depicts a jarring reality of our countries capabilities, with images and videos of arrests and deportations of immigrants. 

As stated in the ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations Report, ICE removed 256,086 “illegal aliens” in 2018. 57 per cent of that stark number were convicted criminals. Their website states clearly that they are looking to continue on this path as mandated by Trump’s Executive Order in 2017.

It is my hope that moving forward, global awareness will begin to open people’s eyes to see how blatantly inhumane this government-mandated act is. The means that ICE officers are searching, rounding up, and arresting individuals goes against the democratic means our country was founded on. Not to mention the costly price of funding ICE’s raids, these mass ‘round-ups’ are causing ripples in our economy that we can not afford. The resources that Trump’s administration is pouring into ICE are desperately needed in other areas. It is a shame on us as Americans, and our government, that ICE is continuously striking fear among the immigrant population of our country.