ICE: Its Origins and History

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency has been deporting immigrants inside the U.S. for years for entering the country illegally. People around the country have been talking about this a lot. Most of these people do not know about ICE’s history and how it was created. How was ICE originated to be what it is today? This is the question most people are trying to answer for themselves.

The enforcement agency was founded on March 1, 2003 by former President George W. Bush. The organization was created after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 occurred. Before ICE ever existed, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) was the existing immigration agency from 1933 to 2003.

Congress investigated the 9/11 attacks, which became a Commission Report. This report made all agencies, including the INS, reorganize themselves. The agencies had to start focusing on immigration policies, because immigrants have attempted to attack the country for years. A year after the attacks, the majority in Congress voted to establish the Department of Homeland Security. As a result, the INS was ceased in 2003, and ICE was brought in to be placed under the Department of Homeland Security.

The Department of Homeland Security is divided into three components: Border Security, U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. They are all in charge of carrying out immigration functions like separating families and arresting people coming from the border and presenting them for prosecution.

Placing Immigration from the Department of Justice to Homeland Security was a huge change. This meant that immigration was a huge danger in the U.S. Americans did not felt safe having immigrants come into the U.S.

There has been a huge change on the average daily population of detained immigrants over the years. In the article “A Short, Brutal History of ICE,” statistics show that 5,000 immigrants were detained in 1994, 19,000 in 2001, and 39,000 in 2017. In other words, the number of deported immigrants has increased during the last two decades.

High-profile raids, detaining immigrants and expressing threats of fear have carried a history of racist and xenophobic laws telling people who can enter the U.S. and under what rules they can stay.

In 1996, Congress passed a law called the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act. This law allowed the nation to deport large numbers of illegal immigrants without difficulty. However, immigration agencies did not utilize the law to its full potential until after the 9/11 attacks. Even up to right now, immigration agencies are expanding law enforcement using other laws that were passed during the ’90s.

The ICE agency has over 20,000 members in law enforcement and support personnel in 400 offices in the U.S. and around the world. It contains over 200 detention centers. Their annual budget is about $6 billion. The agency spends approximately $7 to $8 billion per year.

There has also been reports and complaints of immigrants being abused physically, verbally and sexually. All of this abuse was attempted by the immigration agencies. Reports found that these complaints were filed against the agencies, but the agencies paid lip service into these complaints. In conclusion, reports found nothing wrong with what the agencies were doing to the immigrants. As a result, there was no punishment for these agencies committing these abuses.

Written by Ivan Diaz
Edited by Jeanette Smith


Splinter News: A Short, Brutal History of ICE
National Public Radio: The Origins Of ICE
ICE: History
Wbur: 15 Years After Its Creation, Critics Want To Abolish ICE

Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Cliff’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

ICE: Its Origins and History added by Ivan Diaz on August 4, 2019
View all posts by Ivan Diaz →

Posted In: