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On the Defensive: New ICE propaganda statement demonstrates that they are feeling all the public opposition

September 19, 2019

Last week, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released a statement to The American Public

The ICE statement acknowledges that there is growing opposition to ICE practices on immigration issues, but in the first paragraph ICE says, “we want to set the record straight.”

The statement is nothing short of government propaganda, designed to misinform and attack those who are publicly opposed to the violence and abuse that ICE is imposing on the immigrant community across the country.

In the second paragraph, they use a tactic, which is meant to undermine the credibility of the massive public opposition to ICE. ICE states that two of their facilities, “have been the target of lawless gunfire.” By saying there have been gunfire at two ICE facilities, they are hoping that people will ignore the fact that there has been hundreds of demonstrations against ICE in the past two years, often with civil disobedience, sometimes at ICE facilities and sometimes at corporations who have contracts with the government agency. ICE also wants the public to ignore the fact in several hundred communities across the US people have organized to do things like offer sanctuary to undocumented immigrants, created bond funds for immigrants in detention and fought to end ICE contracts with local governments and law enforcement agencies. The intention of identifying incidents where gunfire was used at ICE facilities also is designed to get the public to ignore or minimize the tremendous harm that ICE has perpetrated against the immigrant community.

After the initial framing of the work that ICE does, the statement then presents 4 major talking points, talking points which we will deconstruct:

ICE makes targeted arrests every day; ICE does not conduct “raids”

No need to get into a semantics fight here, whether ICE calls it targeted arrests or raids is irrelevant. The fact is that ICE makes hundreds of arrests everyday in the US, primarily against people who are undocumented. ICE claims under this heading, “ICE focuses its limited resources first and foremost by targeting those who pose the greatest threat to public safety and border security.” This is patently false, most of the arrests are people who are undocumented but pose NO serious threat to public safety. And most of the undocumented people who end up in ICE custody are those who commit petty misdemeanors like driving without a license.

ICE does not need a warrant to make an arrest

Most people are aware of this fact. In Grand Rapids we share information with the undocumented immigrant community about what to do if ICE comes to your home and we ALWAYS say that ICE does not need a warrant. ICE can come into your home, even break down the door if they want to, which we have documented in several instances. In this section, the ICE statement also makes it a point to say, “Obstructing or otherwise interfering with an ICE arrest is a crime.” GR Rapid Response to ICE is well aware of this threat of obstruction, but they defy this type of intimidation tactic and will actively obstruct ICE in order to prevent them from arresting and detaining an immigrant.

ICE officers treat detainees with dignity and respect

This point is simply a straight up lie. Community groups, like GR Rapid Response to ICE have documented the lack of respect that ICE agents have when interacting with the immigrant community. In addition, there have been numerous groups that have published reports on the poor, often brutal treatment of immigrants at the hands of ICE agents and those that they contract with. Here are just a few of those reports:

Fatal Neglect: How ICE Ignores Deaths in Detention 

Recent Reports Documenting Abuse and Corruption in U.S. Immigration Jails 

Detained, then violated 

ICE and CBP Abuse Tracker 

ICE Raids on US Immigrant Families Risk Serious Abuses 

ICE officers are aware of the real and emotional impact of immigration enforcement

Again, it is irrelevant of ICE officers are aware of the harm, especially since there is no evidence that stop the arrests, stop the detentions and stop to violence against the immigrant community. Just saying that ICE officers are aware is nothing more than a weak attempt to humanize the ICE agents. However, I don’t think for a moment that ICE officers have any idea of the REAL emotional trauma that their officers perpetrate against the immigrant community. Groups like the American Psychological Association, the Kaiser Family Foundation, the National Council of La Raza and Community Psychology have all documented the emotional trauma that ICE causes the immigrant community.

For ICE to say that they are aware of the emotional impact that their agency has on the immigrant community in nothing more than insulting.

The ICE statement concludes by attempting to once again argue that their actions are rooted in public safety. The fact is that there is a movement all across the country that doesn’t buy into this bullshit propaganda. This movement is growing by the day and is exposing the lies perpetrated by ICE and resisting the harm they cause when they arrest, detain and deport immigrants. La Lucha Sique!!

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