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Get to Know ICE, the Immigration & Customs Enforcement Agency

Ever since the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States of America, one federal law enforcement agency has come under greater focus and scrutiny than during the previous administration. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency reports to the Department of Homeland Security. It works closely with the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (USCIS) as well as with the special courts that handle the deportation and removal of certain immigrants. The immigration law experts at KS Visa Law in San Diego offer a quick overview of ICE and what this agency does.

Along with the Border Patrol, ICE is often called “La Migra” by Spanish-speaking immigrants. One of the reasons this agency has been frequently mentioned in news headlines under the Trump administration is because the President has promised that millions of immigrants who are either undocumented or have committed crimes of moral turpitude will be deported under his mandate. What this means for ICE is that agents assigned to Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) are expected to be very busy while Trump is in the White House.

By means of investigations and coordination with USCIS, ICE agents carry out ERO directives, which include the identification, arrest, detention, and removal of certain immigrants. They work with deportation officers to locate immigrants, conduct raids, transport and house detainees, and escort suspects to immigration court. ICE agents also manage large federal detention centers for immigrants across the country.

ICE is the largest federal law enforcement agency after the FBI, and it is expected to expand under the Trump administration if there is any hope of conducting mass deportations on the scale desired by the President. Retired Marine Corps General John F. Kelly, current Secretary of Homeland Security, has explained that ICE would need to hire hundreds of new agents to carry out the President’s deportation orders. 

Although ICE has been a hot topic of political discussion in 2017, the agency was also very busy during the Obama administration, as thousands of immigrants were deported under programs enacted under the administration of former President George W. Bush. However, at one point former President Obama halted the flow of deportations after significant pressure from immigration advocates and social organizations.

In the 21st century, ICE has been the subject of a great deal of controversy in terms of disorganization, ineptitude, brutality, and corruption. Their requests for collaboration with local police departments have been met with skepticism and discord by municipal officials who feel their own law enforcement officers should not be involved in federal matters that do not help their communities. 

ICE has been around since 2003 and requires an annual budget of $5.34 billion. A large portion of this monetary allocation goes to covering payroll for nearly 20,000 employees. The agency is also engaged in investigation and enforcement of crimes that are not necessarily related to immigration such as drug trafficking, transnational street gang operations, gun running, and human trafficking.

If you’d like to know more about ICE or just have some general questions related to immigration, reach out to KS Visa Law, a leading provider of immigration and naturalization services. San Diego is home to many immigrants, and they can trust in our many years of expertise in immigration law. Call 858-874-0711 today to learn more.


April 2024