Friday, July 19, 2024

Democrats press for ICE reforms after fake school report

Calls for structural reform of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are growing in the wake of revelations that the agency created a fake school to lure foreign students to violate immigration laws.

House Democrats say the law enforcement agency’s mission is too broad and its culture corrupt, but they’ve stopped short of calling for the outright abolition of ICE as demanded by some immigration activists.  “I think ‘abolish ICE’ is a buzzword. Because no matter what, we’re always going to have to have some level of deportation force as well as an immigration processing institution,” said Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), the vice chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC).

“And whether we need to separate those institutions into different entities with two different leadership styles and leadership heads, we can do that,” added Gallego. Rep. Linda Sánchez (D-Calif.) also said many Democrats are focused on reform, rather than abolition.

“[The fact of the matter is we do need law enforcement to screen people at our ports of entry to make sure that there’s not human trafficking going on, to keep contraband out of the country… I say reform ICE, let’s put some guardrails in place so that they aren’t embarking on these crazy schemes,]” said Sánchez, chairwoman of the CHC Immigration Taskforce.

The latest backlash against ICE was prompted by a sting operation starting in 2015, under former President Obama’s administration, in which agents set up the University of Farmington in Michigan, an institution that sponsored student visas but offered no classes, only to arrest and deport the foreign nationals who registered. It’s unclear whether the foreign nationals believed the University of Farmington was a fake institution set up to shop out student visas, as ICE claims, or whether they were entrapped into unknowingly violating their visa terms.

The controversy over the sting operations comes as aspects of ICE and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have come under scrutiny, even before President Trump started enacting his restrictive immigration agenda. A commonly cited issue is the size of DHS, with more than 200,000 employees on its payroll, and the sometimes-contradictory missions conducted by its agencies.