19 ICE investigators call for agency to be disbanded in letter amid 'abolish ICE' protests
The massive law enforcement agency, which employs more than 20,000 people and was created in 2003 in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, is responsible for both homeland security investigations (known as HSI) and for the deportation of undocumented migrants (known as ERO, for enforcement and removal operations).
The agents’ letter, first reported by the Texas Observer, expressed concern that President Trump’s crackdown on undocumented migrants has made it more difficult for them to conduct investigations into significant national security issues.
HSI is “supposed to be out there making these major cases, these big cartels that are smuggling guns, drugs, money,” Alonzo Peña, a former ICE deputy director, told the Texas Observer. “And because of this whole immigration rhetoric — that immigrants are bad, that they’re criminals and rapists and all that — the focus is totally off mission.”