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Winning the Messaging Battle, Part I

ICE Freezes Out FGM

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

While the Left rails against ICE with its well-financed propaganda #AbolishICE campaign, the men and women of ICE forge ahead breaking new ground to protect children.


Yes, you heard that right. ICE protects children.

For the past two years, ICE has quietly and proactively trained TSA agents at seven major U.S. international airports and provided a public education campaign to inform travelers about the physical and psychological dangers of female genital mutilation (FGM) and that FGM is a federal crime in the U.S. and in 27 states.

Imagine that! The federal agency most demonized by the Left actually forges ahead, ignoring the noisy media racket, and creates a program that addresses the fastest-growing brutal practice imported into this country—female genital mutilation. The CDC estimates that 513,000 women and girls are at risk of this horrendous criminal assault. In the U.S., FGM has been a federal felony punishable up to five years since 1996. Since the law passed, the incidence of FGM has quadrupled right here in America. Sounds like an epidemic facing innocent girls.

Yet, ICE recognizes that FGM, like human trafficking and other sex crimes against children, poses an international threat by crossing borders, and thus, must be addressed with foreign partners. ICE also understands that more must be done to intervene and interdict this brutal and cruel practice in order to protect little girls from this violence.

Late this summer, ICE officials signed an agreement with British law enforcement affirming a mutual commitment to end the practice of FGM in both countries and throughout the world. ICE calls out FGM for what it is: child abuse. This heinous crime hides in the shadows and operates within a covert network where victims are trafficked across state lines and travel overseas to endure this lasting assault.


The growth of a criminal organization, whether in human trafficking or in the FGM networks of mutilators, lies in subterfuge and the collective denial of the public. The American public serves as the second line of defense as law enforcement’s eyes and ears. Raising awareness in the public domain about female genital mutilation unleashes a multitude of child protectors. ICE recognizes that crucial partnership with the American public.

As ICE accurately points out, knowing the routes taken by perpetrators, as well as when and where the crime of FGM is committed, is particularly important. “…We know that perpetrators continue to adapt to evade detection. We also want this agreement and our joint operation to send a signal to those planning to commit FGM that we will do everything we can to protect girls and prosecute offenders.”


The recognition that child abuse crimes are transnational underscores the necessity of mutual assistance agreements between countries. The unsuspecting little victims are lured into “vacation cutting” junkets by their mothers by slipping through ports of entry, without any intervention by law enforcement. Sharing and coordinating information among various law enforcement entities assures that an FGM safety net is put in place to eradicate this hidden network.

The heroic work of the fine men and women of ICE never seems to merit headlines or positive hashtags. The Left manufactures villains to justify its radical ideological agenda. Without the face of a scapegoat, the message is impersonal and impotent. Distract and distort are the tactics of the left’s campaign.


Truth and accomplishment are sacrificed at the altar of the Left. Even the important goal of protecting females, young and old alike, who are subject to FGM, is squandered for the Left’s cri du jour, #AbolishICE. Apparently, protecting the nation’s borders and little girls from FGM are relegated to the ash heap of liberalism.

Just ask Saul Alinsky.

ICE will ultimately freeze out FGM, first by raising awareness and then by prosecuting the mutilators. Anyone who has information about an individual suspected of committing or assisting in the crime of female genital mutilation is urged to call ICE or the FBI. The ICE tip line is: 1-866-DHS-2423 (1-866-347-2423) or complete the online tip form here. This line is staffed 24-hours a day. Callers will remain anonymous.

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