The ICE man cometh

unknownThis title was unavoidable. ICE stands for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. I have long referred to it as our Gestapo. And that was before Trump. Under Obama, 2.7 million were deported, and horror stories abounded. But at least there were some restraints. Now ICE is totally out of control.

As in the case of law enforcement generally, ICE has an unfortunate tendency to attract the wrong sort — who get their jollies abusing people. And it’s reported that “morale” in ICE ranks has soared under Trump, with the “shackles” now off. When his travel order came out, ICE men were emboldened to enforce it with sickening excess. Many victims legally entitled to be here were treated brutally and denied entry by ICE pricks.* (“And some, I assume, are good people.”)

poster420x415f8f8f8-pad420x460f8f8f8-u1Now the administration has issued new deportation guidelines. The idea of deporting all undocumented residents was always considered, well, crazy, at least if you have brains and human decency. Alas, those are not hallmarks of the Trump administration. The new guidelines target not only those having committed crimes, but even minor traffic offenses. And — get this — people merely “SUSPECTED” of offenses. (By who? On what basis?) How can that square with the 14th amendment, which says all “persons” (not just citizens) are entitled to due process of law. A noble assertion of what used to be America’s fundamental values.

imagesBut in practice, ICE men now seem free to seek out and grab not just “bad hombres” but anybody. Like Ramiro Martinez-Chacon of Hudson, (formerly from violence-wracked El Salvador), in the U.S. since 2002, minding his own business at home on February 7 when some ICE men came, handcuffed him, and dragged him away, in front of his children, who are U.S. citizens. His sole transgression was being here. This story is being repeated all over the country.

unknownI get it that undocumented residents don’t have a legal right to be here. But many of them were brought as children and have lived their whole lives here. And many have minor children who are citizens. Don’t those kids have a basic human right to live with their parents? Deporting those parents is an extremely cruel, stupid, shamefully pointless policy that harms American children!

And the great majority of these people make a positive contribution to our country. It’s actually only thanks to them that our population and workforce isn’t shrinking. Not only do they do a lot of needed jobs, but by spending money in our economy, they actually support a lot of other jobs held by citizens. It’s been estimated that spending by undocumented residents comprises 5% of our economy. They also contribute taxes (while not being entitled to many benefits). Booting them out makes America and its citizens worse off.

But economics or rationality have nothing to do with Trump’s policy. He’s simply pandering to those who just hate living beside people who don’t look or talk like them. And he’s furthermore whipped up those prejudices by harping on crimes by undocumented people. When in fact studies show they commit fewer crimes on average than U.S. citizens. As should be expected, since the potential penalty (deportation) is more severe.

My lawn sign, before it was vandalized

My lawn sign, before it was vandalized

It’s also ridiculous to say other countries are exporting undesirables to America. To the contrary, anyone undertaking all the risks, difficulties, and challenges of such migration must possess the kinds of personal qualities that make them an asset to whatever community they join. I want them here.

Better than ignorant, hate-filled Trump supporters.

* And not just Muslims. Click here.

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3 Responses to “The ICE man cometh”

  1. DAN FAREK Says:

    HI FRANK:
    WOW!!! I ALWAYS THOUGHT THAT THE I.R.S. WAS THE AMERICAN GESTAPO. IN FACT I WOULD HAVE GUESSED THAT IN THE NEXT FEW YEARS THE IRS AGENTS WOULD BE WEARING BLACK UNIFORMS, WITH SILVER PIPING WITH SILVER SKULL AND CROSSBONES ON THEIR COLLARS AND CAP BADGES, WHILE CARRYING MACHINE PISTOLS.
    NOW THAT I THING ABOUT IT, THIS MAY COME TO PASS.
    BE THAT AS IT MAY, I STILL BELIEVE THAT TRUMP IS MUCH BETTER THAN THEY CORRUPT, LYING(DELETED) HILLARY CLINTON.
    DAN

  2. frankzollo Says:

    “As in the case of law enforcement generally, ICE has an unfortunate tendency to attract the wrong sort — who get their jollies abusing people.”

    It is so refreshing to read this. As you know, there is a virtual cult mentality that compels and enforces an assumption that all law enforcement personnel are selfless social workers who only go into it because they love helping people. This rubric of praising and defending law enforcement simultaneously asserts – despite voluminous evidence to the contrary – that they can do no wrong and that anyone they abuse had it coming.

  3. rationaloptimist Says:

    My book about the Albany machine (1973!) details some systematic robberies committed by police. (A police officer who sued me for libel died last week).
    But in my blog post I was careful to say I was not describing ALL police or ICE men: “And some, I assume, are good people.” (Quoting Pussygrabber)

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