The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing Tuesday on the separation of illegal immigrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border. At one point, the question of abolishing the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency came up. A handful of Democrats in Congress and several progressive politicians see no more need for the "terrorist" agency (Cynthia Nixon's words.)
If those Democrats and progressives get their wish and dismantle ICE, minority communities will be hardest hit, Department of Homeland Security official Matthew Albence explained at Tuesday's hearing. With no ICE agents on patrol, children and minorities will be vulnerable to illegal immigrants, many of whom have criminal records, he urged. Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) asked Albence to paint the eerie scene.
CORNYN: "Mr. Albence, what if we just decided to abolish ICE? What would be the impact on our country in terms of public safety?"
ALBENCE: "The public safety impact would be huge. In addition to immigration enforcement that we do, which as I mentioned previously, we arrested 127,000 individuals with criminal convictions and arrests last year. Our Homeland Security Investigations branch does a significant amount of work, all tremendous work, with regard to drugs and narcotics, child predators, cybercrime. I would also say that you cannot have strong border security with a void in the interior. If an individual knows that they can come to the country and try and try and try and eventually get past the border patrol and that there is no chance of any enforcement being taken against them, then you will never have border security. What in effect you are saying if you're getting rid of the interior enforcement arm of immigration enforcement, you’re saying you want border security, you want border patrol to make all these arrests and stop people there, but once they get by the border patrol, let them go. So in effect, you’re not against illegal entry, you are against attempted illegal entry, because once the entry is made, you don’t want us to do anything on the inside."
CORNYN: "If ICE was no longer in existence and no longer enforced our laws in the interior of the United States, would the primary victim of that be the minority communities in which many of these people operate?"
ALBENCE: "These minority communities are the primary victims now because these individuals are involved in gang activity and other criminal activity and generally they commit those crimes against those in the same communities in which they reside."
In communities across the country, ICE has helped bring dangerous individuals to justice. In May, the agency arrested 156 illegal immigrants. Seventy-four of those individuals had criminal convictions which included battery, commercial sex, drug trafficking, domestic violence, driving under the influence, felony burglary, homicide, larceny, and more.
Yet, progressive congressional candidates like New York's Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have "abolish ICE" as part of their platform. Current U.S. representatives like Marc Pocan (D-WI) have introduced actual legislation to make it happen.