Don’t Abolish ICE; Make it Work Better

There is a growing hatred at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE), rightfully so I might add.  Several months of horrible news about their handling of Latin American migrants trying to declare asylum, their subsequent separation of families (including babies and toddlers) and their sheer incompetence in keeping track of these children have correctly depicted the agency as disgracefully managed.

But it isn’t going anywhere.

Before it became ICE, it was the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS).  INS had many of the same criticisms in how they handled immigration at our southern border, which suffice it to say, was universally derided as horrible.  After 9/11, as part of the general restructuring for Homeland Security, INS became ICE, but its basic goals and mission were the same; to handle immigration and naturalization for non-citizens coming across U.S. borders.

ICE is actually the bureaucratic arm of the federal government that manages immigration.  Regardless of what one thinks of how they administer it, it’s certainly a needed agency.  Thousands cross into the United States annually, and without any means to monitor, track, assist in cultural integration and provide naturalization, things would be considerably worse.

It has become trendy among certain circles to advocate “Abolishing ICE.”  This is the similar to the Tea Party cry of “Abolish the IRS” back in the late 2000s/early 2010s.  It is incredibly short sighted, as if eliminating the agency would automatically prevent any immigration issues or eliminate taxes altogether.  Of course it wouldn’t.  People would still cross the border and the government would still need revenue, regardless of how many people despise the management of immigration and taxes alike.

Instead, it is far more productive and accurate to criticize the ADMINISTRATION of these agencies, as these scandals are examples of HOW they are poorly managed, not of their aims or goals.  Following Hurricane Katrina, the blame for FEMA mismanagement was put squarely on “Heckuva Job Brownie” and President Bush. Everyone recognized it would be substantially worse without FEMA handling and assisting what it could, and that it was bureaucratic error, not mission error, that was at fault.  Since then, FEMA has assisted in helping thousands displaced by storms or disaster.  This has not been without criticism, as it can always be better.  However, most acknowledge FEMA is an important federal agency with an important goal.

So please, focus your efforts on the people in charge, for it is their mismanagement of government that is at fault.  If you dislike, even hate, the means by which elected officials and appointees handle the power of government, work to organize and vote them (and indirectly those that they appointed) out of office.  Elected office is a job, and their appointments reflect on the type of job they do.  It is ALWAYS important to remember that.

Don’t get angry.  Vote.

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