When people talk about the post-9/11 world in terms of politics, most think of the USA PATRIOT Act, the Department of Homeland Security, unwarranted wiretapping, and forever wars but rarely is ICE mentioned in the same breathe despite Immigration and Customs Enforcement being a direct result of the post–9/11 policy of the so-called american government.
ICE was established under the Homeland Security Act of 2002 in response to 9/11, combining the criminal investigative and intelligence resources of the United States Customs Service, the criminal investigative, detention, and deportation resources of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, and briefly the Federal Protective Service, which later became part of the National Protection and Programs Directorate in 2009. From 2003 to 2005, ICE also included the Federal Air Marshals Service which was part of the TSA before and since. ICE is the largest investigative arm of the DHS and the second largest contributor to the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force.
In our current political climate, ICE has become a hot button issue. With Trump’s constant barrage of anti-immigrant rhetoric, people have started paying more attention to the practices of ICE, including the separation of children from their families and their literal detention camps with horrendous conditions that leave many traumatized and others dead. At times ICE has even been suspected by some of sex trafficking. I have personally known people whose immigration papers were torn to shreds in front of their faces by ICE agents during raids on their workplaces. It seems that even coming here through the legal channels doesn’t make one safe from ICE’s grasp.
And the call for the abolition of ICE has grown so strong that it has reached the halls of congress, with politicians such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib, and Justin Amash supporting ICE’s abolition. The Defund ICE movement has seen growing support from the public with people boycotting companies such as Amazon who contract with ICE (on that note, buy our books from our own C4SS store, NOT from Amazon).
Some seem unable to envision a world without ICE and become weary of such calls but many of those same people seem unaware of how young ICE really is and why it was actually formed. Reminding people that ICE is post-9/11 War on Terror policy places the battle firmly beside the fight against the PATRIOT Act, the TSA, and endless warfare. It is all a part of the same machine. As Reason and others have pointed out, abolishing ICE is only the first step. We also need to abolish the entire Department of Homeland Security along with it. So let’s honor those killed in the 9/11 attacks by not giving into terroristic threats and trading liberty for the false sense of security. Let’s reclaim our freedoms and abolish ICE.