Former DHS officials comment on ICE billboard campaign

ICE billboards

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, within its many tasks, has the obligation to carry out exhaustive investigations to locate immigrants, who managed to cross borders without prior authorization, and reside in the US without legal documentation.

ICE is one of the main border forces of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and is a linchpin for the Trump administration’s goals when it comes to the immigration sector.

Due to the nature of its work, ICE is constantly in the eye of the storm. By this, we mean that this federal agency goes through multiple controversies simultaneously. This is primarily because hundreds of activists, critics, and immigrant rights advocates argue that the Trump administration uses ICE to threaten the most vulnerable immigrant communities.

Apart from that, ICE’s operations and proposals have been classified on multiple occasions as “invasive and arbitrary”. For instance, last week, the border entity declared that it would launch an advertising campaign in Pennsylvania, with the intention of targeting undocumented immigrants, who have been protected by “sanctuary laws.”

Broadly speaking, “sanctuary laws or sanctuary cities” ban law enforcement agencies from cooperating with border forces and with the detention of undocumented immigrants. Therefore, ICE plans to create billboards with the faces and personal information of undocumented immigrants involved in crimes and who were released from prisons and correctional facilities due to “sanctuary laws.”

ICE faces multiple criticism for billboard proposal

In the opinion of activists, the Trump administration uses fairly strict methods on illegal immigration. However, according to their perspective, this proposal crosses a limit and could promote social division, violence and discrimination towards immigrant communities, which contribute greatly to the socioeconomic development of the US and represent a high percentage of the local workforce.

In fact, former DHS officials have also commented on ICE’s publicity campaign and state that it is a “wildly inappropriate” proposal. One of them openly stated: “The placement and the timing — the placement being Pennsylvania and the timing being a month before the election — make it clear that this is a political move, not related to operational matters (…) We’re almost four years into the administration. Why wasn’t this done sooner if that was something they thought was important?”

They, along with dozens of activists, claim that the Trump administration is instilling fear among immigrant communities and sanctuary cities as a political strategy to win reelection in November 2020.

Adding to that, a former ICE official (during Barack Obama’s term) also argued that “It’s a political advertisement in favor of the president or at a minimum, against politicians that they disagree with. And that’s just wildly inappropriate”

The Trump administration plans to use the ad campaign in other states and has yet to respond to the criticism.

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