Recently (Jan. 16), acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Matthew T. Albence, a man with considerable pulpits, was given an op-ed in the local Portland Press Herald. The piece would almost be tragically humorous if the subject weren’t the literal terrorizing of communities of color.

The director not only uses scaremongering of criminals in one of the safest states but also opens the wounds of 9/11 to further his appeal to authority. The notion that “ICE targets criminals” is strange when one considers a few obvious facts.

First, other law agencies with the exact same mandate exist to “target criminals.” Two, lest we forget, the word “immigration” is literally part of their name; cases referred to ICE: Enforcement and Removal Operations or ICE: Homeland Security Investigations can trigger deportation processes. Third, well, “we catch the bad guy” should be insulting to most people’s intelligence.

The piece reads hardly better than a recent tantrum published by News Center Maine essentially labeling all critics as supporting child molesters. If criticism in words causes such unhinged reactions, I hate to see what happens on the streets when accountability is demanded.

As I’ve written, ICE: HSI cannot hide behind simplistic PR. HSI engages in workplace terror, questionable asset forfeiture practices, actively stripping citizenship on banal technicalities and funneling both technology and funds to ERO. HSI is very much part of the horrors immigrants face, we now see, on a near-daily basis.

We should debate whether this is just immigration policy, but we shouldn’t have to debate whether HSI is part of it.

Jai Kang


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