When President Donald Trump is hoping to rally his base, one of the things he typically does is try to remind supporters how tough he is on illegal immigration. But according to a report by The New Yorker’s Jonathan Blitzer, agents for the U.S. Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are growing increasingly fed up with being used as a political football.
Blitzer notes that on June 17, Trump announced there’d be immigration raids the following week he promised would result in the deportation of “millions of illegal aliens.” But ICE, Blitzer reports, had to “scramble” in order to accommodate Trump’s announcement and wished he had given them more advance notice.
Carrying out the types of raids Trump wanted, Blizter explains, requires preparation — and ICE agents weren’t given nearly enough time to prepare. An ICE agent, interviewed anonymously, told Blitzer, “Almost nobody was looking forward to this operation. It was a boondoggle, a nightmare.”
Another ICE officer, interviewed on condition of anonymity, told Blitzer, “I don’t even know what we’re doing now. A lot of us see the photos of the kids at the border, and we’re wondering, ‘What the hell is going on?’”
That officer also said that one of his or her colleagues now misses President Barack Obama when it comes to immigration policy.
The officer noted, “One person told me, ‘I never thought I’d say this, but I miss the Obama rules. We removed more people with the rules we had in place than with all this. It was much easier when we had the priorities. It was cleaner.’”
And the officer continued, “No one built up the infrastructure to handle this, and now, people are suffering at the border for it. They keep saying they were caught flat footed. That’s a bald-faced fucking lie.”
But frustration with Trump over immigration policy didn’t start this month. Blitzer observes that when she was serving as secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Kirstjen Nielsen had major concerns over the types of immigration raids that Trump wanted because “children would be involved” — and Deputy ICE Director Ron Vitiello shared her concerns. But Trump ally Stephen Miller, Blitzer reports, has encouraged Trump to pursue a draconian immigration policy.
John Amaya, former deputy chief of staff for ICE, was not afraid to criticize Trump on the record when he spoke to Blizter — and like those still employed by the agency, he hates the president using border security and immigration as a way of carrying out political stunts.
Reflecting on Trump’s June 17 announcement of ICE raids, Amaya complained to Blitzer, “It was a dumbshit political move that will only hurt the agents.”
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