^ is this a picture we want to see more of ? I say “no”

—- —- —-

Whether the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) division of Homeland Security should remain, or be abolished, is now up for discussion. Several candidates for Congress have asked for it to be defunded. Congressman Marc Pocan of Wisconsin is filing legislation to abolish it.

Clearly the actions of ICE operatives, under the vicious, bigoted, and scatter-shot directives of our current President, have aroused enormous opposition. In my mind, this opposition is fully justified. ICE people are harassing immigrants, arresting many, incarcerating some. They’re stopping people driving on highways up-country. They’re intimidating people on Greyhound buses. They’re arresting perfectly legal residents, and word is that they plan to seek the revocation of some who are naturalized citizens. Then there;s the tearing apart of migrant families seeking asylum from deadly enemies in their countries of origin. There is, in these actions more typical of dictatorships than of a democracy, more than enough here to support every level of opposition a voter can express.

I fully share this opposition to what ICE people are doing. What, then, do I propose we do by way of legislation ?

Immigration and Customs Enforcement was established by Sections d and E of the 2002 Homeland Security Act. Some of us at the time objected to this legislation on freedom grounds; Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) has continued to object to much of it. The Homeland Security Act remains the sharpest limitation upon ordinary freedoms this country has enacted since World War II. There is much in it, besides what it has done to immigration, that intrudes upon personal privacy. Surveillance of individuals is made possible — albeit with some, but not much, measure of due process — and of our communications. None of this prevented Russian hackers from diverting and tainting our elections, nor has it stopped Congress people from defending Russian hacking. The Homeland Security Act — as could easily have been forseen — has now become a political bat with which to beat up on one’s opponents. If any legislation is to be abolished, it should be the Homeland Security Act.

As for its immigration and customs enforcement sections, my recommendations would be these :

( 1 ) require ICE personnel to seek a “just cause” warrant from an immigration judge prior to any field action, said warrant to specify the actions intended and the reasons

( 2 ) no enforcement action by ICE’s customs personnel can take place except within five (5) miles of a border. No ICE actions can involve entering buses, trains, or aircraft. No ICE actions can occur in or outside a courtroom or government office.

( 3 ) persons with legal residence, of whatever kind, are wholly exempt from ICE action.

( 4 ) customs personnel have no power to detain entrants for more than 48 hours, and such detainees must be given a written explanation of the express reasons for such detainer. Said writing must also include a statement that the detainee has the right to seek legal counsel and to make up to three phone calls for that purpose.

( 5 ) under no circumstances can family members traveling together be separated.

( 6 ) detainees for up to 48 hours must be provided a bed, basic food and drink, and quiet.

( 7 ) penalties for persons violating any of these sanctions shall include fine and possible loss of job. Such violations may be civil in nature, but aggravated violations, or violations by a person already under sanction may be prosecuted criminally. All ICE personnel must be bonded.

The above list seems basic; likely you may think of others. I do not support abolishing ICE altogether except in the context of repealing the entire Homeland Security Act. We must recognize that the only justification of enabling the Homeland Security Act was the feeling that our nation was at war. Maybe it was at war in 2002 — even that assumption can be justly disputed — but our nation cannot declare itself permanently at war with bands of pirates, which is what ISIS and its straggler successors amount to. We went to war with pirates once : 1804k, when our navy sailed to the Libyan coast and destroyed the flock of pirates then hurting international trade. We did not declare the entire nation at war then, and I see no need to do so now. The FBI and CIA are quite capable of identifying almost all ISIS types and stopping them before they activate. In any case, by far the bigger terrorist danger to public peace arises from home grown mass shooters.

Why should I have to take  a passport with me to drive into Canada ? Or vice versa ? For 200 years Canada and our nation have existed side by side peacefully. I used to drive to Montreal, crossing a border as I did, and having it be no difficulty ata ll. The so called border passes through the middle of cities. Why should it be weaponized ? i say let’s extricate ourselves from such thinking.

The southern border is more problematic, because all kinds of desperate people enter from Mexico. I do support a vetting process for entry from the south. Yet almost everyone who enters from our south comes to live a peaceful life, even to prosper: and most do. The Mayors of El Paso and Brownsville in Texas both say that the border they straddle is no problem at all; indeed, El Paso is one of the safest cities in our nation.

It is high time to end the state of war mentality that has given rise to the current ICE persona. ICE must be given drastically new, legally observant, judicious regulations to live by. If it continues on its present path, however, abolition won’t just be the outcry of a few. It will be the common wisdom.

—- Mike Freedberg / Here and Sphere




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