Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents say that under the new Trump administration, they’ve been empowered to carry out their jobs, instead of being punished for insubordination and told not to arrest illegals.
The New York Times interviewed 17 ICE agents across the country to talk about how the new atmosphere created under the Trump administration has allowed them to properly deport illegals. The Times described the agency under Trump as a “whirlwind of activity.”
“Before, we used to be told, ‘You can’t arrest those people,’ and we’d be disciplined for being insubordinate if we did,” said one ICE agent, who had worked with the agency for 10 years. “Now those people are priorities again. And there are a lot of them here.”
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Tuesday that the Trump administration’s goal was to “take the shackles off” agents.
Under the Obama administration, agents were told only to focus on deporting gang members and those with serious criminal histories.
“What part of illegal don’t people understand?” one agent commented on Obama-era policies in frustration.
Now that ICE agents no longer fear the scourge from officials bent on providing cover for illegals, the unions for ICE and Border Patrol noted that morale has skyrocketed.
“As representatives of the nation’s frontline immigration officers and agents responsible for enforcing our laws and protecting our borders, we fully support and appreciate President Trump’s swift and decisive action to keep the American people safe and allow law enforcement to do its job,” the statement read. “Morale amongst our agents and officers has increased exponentially since the signing of the orders.”
Some agents have even started describing their jobs as “fun.”
This new-found empowerment is concerning to Democratic Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, who protested to Department of Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly that Virginia residents are being detained “without cause or specific allegations of criminal activity.”
Resistance isn’t just coming from elected officials like McAuliffe, but also from local law enforcement in cities that have pledged to protect illegals from deportation.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and other officials have asked ICE agents to stop calling themselves “police” when conducting raids, as they say it’s reducing trust among residents.
Joint raids between police and DHS in Santa Cruz has devolved into a series of accusations from the local police chief that DHS was going after immigrants, as well, not just MS-13 gang members.
“The Department of Homeland Security, unbeknownst to us at the Santa Cruz Police Department, had acted outside the scope of this operation and had detained and removed a number of individuals from locations based upon their immigration status,” Chief Kevin Vogel said at a news conference. “The community has an absolute right to be angry over this. This has violated the trust of the community, and we cannot tell you how disappointed we are by the betrayal of the Department of Homeland Security.”
It’s expected that the tension between local police authorities in liberal states like California and federal authorities will continue to escalate.
Trump said he wants to hire 5,000 more Border Patrol agents and 10,000 more ICE officers.