The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is out of control. They are emboldened by an administration with no clear rules of engagement, that cares more about the perception of being tough on immigration than they do about the lives they are ruining.

We saw a rise in deportations during the Obama Presidency. His administration was responsible for deporting more people in eight years than all of the presidents in the 20th century combined. More than 2.5 million people between 2009 and 2015, earning him the nickname Deporter in Chief.

To his credit, Obama directed ICE to focus their efforts on criminals, not families. As a result, 91 percent of deportees in 2015 had been convicted of a crime. ICE prioritized individuals who posed a threat to national security and public safety, which made up approximately 81 percent of removals. ICE’s second priority for deportation under the Obama Administration were immigrants who had three or more misdemeanors or immigration violations.

Similarly, President Trump has conveyed a message of wanting to target criminals, not families. In an April 2017 interview with The Associated Press, Trump said his administration is, “Not after the Dreamers, we are after the criminals.” Once again, Trump is engaging in a game of Marco Polo with the American people- his words never seem to match his actions.

In stark contrast to Obama’s thoughtful immigration policy, which focused on serious criminals, Trump’s expanded ICE policies make all undocumented persons targets for removal. Although deportations are down, ICE arrests are up by about 30 percent from 2016 to 2017. Out of the 143,470 arrests made in 2017, 10.8% were individuals with no known criminal charges or convictions. The terror of being deported has pushed the undocumented into the shadows; forcing them to work off the books, avoid medical care and not report crimes against them for fear of detection.

The change in policy and resultant deportations negatively impact our uniquely inclusive American way of life. Here are a few stories that illustrate my point of view

Lukasz Niec, who despite being a green card holder was arrested by ICE for two misdemeanor crimes he committed as a minor. Some might argue, “If you do the crime, you do the time.” I would just like to point out that we all make mistakes, especially when we are young. He has grown up to become a productive member of society. Lukasz is a physician, husband and the father of young children. I think our federal resources are best spent chasing violent criminals, not law-abiding guys in lab coats.

This next story is pretty crazy and next level because it illustrates the unbridled power of a federal law enforcement agency gone rogue.

Amer Othman came here illegally at the age of 18 and has been living a crime-free life for 39 years. He is married and has three daughters’ (all American citizens). His green card was revoked because authorities accused him of marriage fraud related to his first marriage. Amer professed his innocence but never had his day in court. His ex-wife signed an affidavit confirming that their marriage was legitimate and claimed that authorities pressured her to say the marriage was not legal. The case came to the attention of the House Judiciary Committee on Immigration and Border Security, who requested that the Department of Homeland Security review the matter. The inquiry should have triggered a six-month delay of his deportation. ICE ignored the committee’s request and put him on a flight to Jordan.

Defiance of congressional oversight is the kind of rogue behavior exhibited by deportation forces, not federal agencies sworn to protect Americans from cross-border crime and illegal immigration that threaten national security and public safety. This turn of events should alarm us all. ICE is out of control and Congress needs to rein them in. History will judge us harshly if we don’t speak up. Be on the right side of history and call your representative to demand immigration reform.


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