Time Has Come for Real Oversight to End ICE Incompetence, ACLU Says

March 11, 2008 12:00 am

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Raids, illegal deportations, deaths in detention all signal huge problems

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Washington, DC – In light of a hearing examining Department of Homeland Security law enforcement operations, the American Civil Liberties Union called once again for the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security to conduct true oversight over Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), one of the worst violators of civil liberties among federal agencies. ICE has conducted dragnet-style raids of homes and businesses to sweep for immigrants; separated parents from their children and held them without due process in immigration detention facilities; and been responsible for numerous deaths due to squalid conditions.

The hearing also examined the Transportation Security Administration’s record, which the ACLU has criticized for many failures, particularly its continued use of the enormous and ineffective terrorist watch list that has skyrocketed to over 900,000 name records, and its invasive and ineffective screening methods in airports.

The following can be attributed to ACLU Legislative Counsel Joanne Lin:

“Over the past few years the Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement has engaged in a systematic campaign of raiding U.S. worksites and U.S. citizens’ homes. ICE has raided people’s homes in the pre-dawn hours, banging on people’s doors, pushing their way into people’s bedrooms, and arresting everyone in sight including U.S. citizens and young children. ICE’s relentless pursuit to deport, without due process, has been so egregious that ICE has arrested, detained, and even deported native-born U.S. citizens.

What kind of immigration law enforcement system do we have when U.S. citizens are being deported to foreign countries? ICE will continue to commit gross errors and misconduct until Congress exercises rigorous oversight over DHS. The ACLU commends the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security for conducting today’s hearing and urges the committee to rein in ICE’s reckless conduct by ensuring that ICE’s law enforcement operations comport with due process.”

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