ICE Agent Spills: We’re Targeting Children For Detention ‘Because We Can’

Trumpers are rejoicing over the escalating activities of Immigration and Customs Enforcement because of their wholly misguided belief that undocumented immigrants do nothing but sit here, in the U.S., illegally soaking up every dollar that should go to actual Americans. That mentality has spawned five squillion allegations about the behavior of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which has gotten increasingly brazen, and even abusive, since Trump’s election.

One ICE agent has apparently had enough, and he’s speaking out. Jonathan Blitzer, a contributing writer to The New Yorker, got in touch with this agent (who would only allow these details to be published under condition of anonymity) who finds himself increasingly alarmed by the culture shift at the agency.

He’s particularly angry about ICE’s specific targeting of children who entered the country as unaccompanied minors years ago. Those children were placed with families and allowed to attend school here, hopefully so they could make themselves into contributing members of society. He told Blitzer something shocking: That they’re going after these children literally because they can, even though there’s no real policy for what to do with them after they’re rounded up.

“The plan is to take them back into custody, and then figure it out. I don’t understand it. We’re doing it because we can, and it bothers the hell out of me.

The whole idea is targeting kids. I know that technically they meet the legal definition of being adults. Fine. But if they were my kids travelling in a foreign country, I wouldn’t be O.K. with this. We’re not doing what we tell people we do. If you look [at] next month, or at the end of this month, at the people in custody, it’s people who’ve been here for years. They’re supposed to be in high school.”

This isn’t some rookie who’s only been with the agency for a few months or a year, and probably hasn’t fully assimilated into the culture and become a cold-hearted, contemptuous, power-drunk officer. This is veteran officer who has been in federal immigration enforcement since the Clinton administration.

He talks about what things were like before Trump: ICE used to look at the full circumstances of a deportation case before making decisions. He feels that the job of the agency is not to judge the people they’re detaining, and yet, many ICE agents are doing just that now, and that’s part of the problem. Their contempt is growing by leaps and bounds and it’s affecting how the agency runs as a whole (which Trump fans no doubt love).

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While this particular agent was heavily critical of Obama and what he saw as micromanaging from Obama’s administration, there’s so much now that’s gone that it’s really no wonder individual agents seem hungry to arrest and remove as many people as possible – even if those people are children. It sounds like they’re becoming single-minded about it.

And this agent is also upset about the use of resources. Our immigration system is already badly clogged, and has been for a long time. ICE is pretty much intentionally making that worse.

“We still have to make decisions based on a responsible use of the government’s resources—you can’t lock everybody up, We’re putting more people into that overburdened system just because we can. There’s just this school of thought that, well, we can do what we want.”

This is Trump’s America. This is what the Trumpers want – they want “the other” gone and they don’t care how it happens or who that “other” is, let alone what it’s going to cost us. The fact that ICE is targeting children who were specifically placed with families here, and who should be attending high school now, is just flat-out vile. This is not America.


Featured image via John Moore/Getty Images