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Hey Let’s Bring Back That Abolish ICE Thing

ICE deported babies to a country that could become a warzone at any moment. You can't reform that.

abolish ice
Master Steve Rapport/Mike Maguire/Rick Obst (Flickr)

It might seem like a lifetime, but it was only a few long years ago that the progressive left took up the cause of destroying the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, which along with Customs and Border Protection (CBP) was responsible for many of the worst abuses against undocumented people of the Trump administration.

ICE has always been a brutal agency which has no real purpose except to justify violence against people whose crime is not being “from” here. And, in recent years, critics on the left, including a largely-unknown House primary challenger from the Bronx named Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, rightly championed the cause of abolition.

But while immigration activists have continued to push for abolition and Ocasio-Cortez was publicly backing it as recently as September, the idea doesn’t have the same prominence that it did in 2018 and 2019. And that is a mistake, because as a Guardian report Tuesday indicates, ICE is up to its usual bullshit, even with ostensibly new rules in place from the Biden administration. From the Guardian:

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement deported at least 72 people to Haiti on Monday, including a two-month-old baby and 21 other children, in an apparent flagrant breach of the Biden administration’s orders only to remove suspected terrorists and potentially dangerous convicted felons.

The children were deported to Haiti on Monday on two flights chartered by Ice from Laredo, Texas to the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince. The removals sent vulnerable infants back to Haiti as it is being roiled by major political unrest.

On President Joe Biden’s first day in office, the Department of Homeland Security sent a memo to ICE and other agencies implementing a 100-day moratorium on deportations and laying the groundwork for an overhaul of federal immigration policy. While the moratorium was temporarily halted by a Trump-appointed judge in Texas, another part of the memo says to prioritize only threats to national security, border security, and public safety in deportations. A baby is none of those things. (ICE, DHS, and the White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment.)

If this sounds like ICE sent actual babies off to a country that could become a warzone at any moment, that’s because they did. If this sounds like open defiance of not only the president but its own parent agency, that’s because it is.

“I fear for the kids being sent into the middle of this uprising,” Guerline Jozef of the nonprofit Haitian Bridge Alliance told the Guardian. “It’s as if there is a house burning, and instead of taking people out for their own safety the United States is sending defenseless babies into the burning house.”

You cannot reform ICE and make it “better.” The agency has shown that even under a “nicer” approach to immigration than the one implemented by Trump, Stephen Miller, and a rotating cast of clowns over the past four years, it will continue to do fundamentally bad things because its mission is bad. The only solution is to take away its ability to do those things, and the best way to do that is to close up shop entirely.