The FBI defines a terrorist organization as: “ Violent, criminal acts committed by individuals and/or groups to further ideological goals stemming from domestic influences, such as those of a political, religious, social, racial, or environmental nature.” While the U.S. government will never admit that any of their agencies is committing terrorist acts or using terrorist-type tactics, those who find themselves at the end of ICE’s baton will definitely tell you they are being terrorized.
ICE, like every organization, has an identity and a culture. Like the CBP and Border Patrol, ICE’s culture is based on the ideology of anti-immigrant hate groups like the Federation of Americans for Immigration Reform (FAIR) and the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS). You can take it from this former agent as fact that agents are well versed in these hate ideologies. While these organizations claim to only be concerned with “illegal immigration” and “criminal immigrants,” they hide the fact that their actual concern is with what they refer to as the “browning of American.” You can read more about their ideology and connections to our immigration agencies here.
Stephen Miller, the president’s immigration advisor, espouses and follows their policy directives. ICE and their enforcement tactics were literally born from this hate group ideology. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, ICE agents slither around our immigrant communities, our communities of color looking for targets to arrest and sweep away. Disappearing is what they call it. A knock on the door, a tap on the shoulder while you pick your kids up from school, a request to talk to you as you enter your worship center, an insistance that you look like someone they are looking for is all it takes for ICE agents to question your right to be present in this country. Then you're shoved in an unmarked SUV or van, taken to a holding facility, no judge, no attorney, no appeal, shackled on a chartered plane and flown to a country that you may not even know. No notice to your family, your children.
You are disappeared.
So, it is no surprise that ICE has just committed to enforcing policies that bring us to crossing over the line of an official police state. No longer limited to within 100 miles of any land or sea border, ICE is now able to stop any person and question their citizenship, to ask for your papers. To be clear, this is a policy and not a law. What this means is that anyone they stop and question is now required to be able to prove their citizenship or prove that they have been in the U.S. legally for at least two years continuously.
Most Americans believe they can easily prove this. Not so fast. First, it is your burden to prove you have the right to be here, and not the ageny’s burden to prove you are here illegally. In other words, in immigration law, you are considered guilty until you can prove your innocence. Immigration laws and policies are written to make it difficult for you to prove this. A driver’s license or state identification is not recognized by the federal government as some states issue IDs to the undocumented.
Passports and federal IDs are also suspect as they can be either fraudulently obtained or fake themselves. If agents suspect this, they can simply hold you indefinitely until they determine otherwise. Just read this article of an American held for over 1,200 days. Because ICE is holding you for immigration reasons, they do not have to provide you with an attorney. Under this new policy, they are jot even required to take you before an immigration judge.
These actions are terroristic threats based in hate ideology.
So, what to do. Thinking back on other authoritarian regimes, it is clear that governments get away with these crimes when people do not speak out. I recognize that not all have this ability because of their immigration status or the color of their skin. I also recognize that I am in a unique position as a white woman, an American and a former agent. Speaking out, standing up is a personal choice that only you can make for yourself.
That being said, I believe it is way past time for those who can to stand up against these terrorist tactics and this agency. I suggest to you that you should form groups within your communities and discuss these and other ideas. If you see an ICE operation occurring, video it and post it to social media. It is legal to film agents conducting these operations though they will tell you it is not. The ACLU has an app that sends your video directly to their servers should anything happen to your phone. Write down the date and times that you see these events occurring as soon as possible so you do not forget them. Take pictures of their vehicles and the agents when you see them and upload them to your local sites or post them around the community warning people that ICE is in the area conducting sweeps.
If you have ICE agents living in your community, out them. Tell everyone in the community that the ICE agent is living in your community. Do not allow anyone in your family to associate with this person or their family. Do not allow your children to play with the children of ICE agents as they may tell them that their parents are immigrants. Worship centers must decide if they are willing to allow ICE agents to worship in their centers or if the safety of other worshipping families is more important. The safety of your family and community depends on this.
Documented or not, help community members who are afraid to go out. Grocery shop, run errands, make a plan to help their family should the bread winner be disappeared. Never ever ask anyone their immigration status. You are not an immigration agent and must remain completely ignorant of their status. Be prepared that you may be arrested for a variety of reasons that they make up for your resistance.
Like other federal agents, ICE agents take an oath to the Constitution. The Constitution states that all persons are to be treated fairly and equally under the law. The Supreme Court has decided in three cases that this applies to the undocumented as well. ICE is violating the law. ICE is denying people their rights and violating the Constitution.
ICE is a terrorist organization, and Americans give no comfort to terrorists.