opinion   |   column

ICE is under attack for doing its job



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United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents plan an early morning action March 26, 2012, at the Los Angeles Sheriff Station parking lot in Valencia, California. Tribune News Service Buy Photos

Early last week, an undocumented couple was on their way to have a doctor perform a Cesarean section to deliver their baby. On the way to the hospital, they stopped at a gas station, where United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents encountered them and asked for their identification. The husband, Joel Arrona-Lara, did not have his identification with him, which led to his arrest. The wife was then forced to drive to the hospital alone two miles down the road and have the C-section.

This has sparked great, unnecessary outrage among those who have been trying to reform, or even eradicate ICE for quite some time. We can't ignore the fact that neither member of the couple has their green card and have been living in the United States for nearly twelve years. 

Furthermore, there have been numerous reports that Mr. Arrona-Lara has a Mexican arrest warrant out for a homicide charge. All these allegations are a violation of U.S. immigration laws, and ICE rightfully claims that they have a duty to remove the couple from the country, so, specifically in cases like this, the American people have no place in their backlash toward ICE.

In the recent months, ICE has been under attack from open-border advocates and Trump adversaries. There is this growing sense from a significant portion of the country that everyone should be allowed into the United States, regardless of merit or legality. It is true that we’re a nation of immigrants, but we cannot shy away from our values and shun those who have worked tirelessly to become a legal citizen of this great nation.

ICE agents are hardworking, dedicated Americans who are trying to make the country a safer place for the American people by preventing more crime like the ones Arrona-Lara is accused of committing.  

This isn’t an insinuation that all undocumented immigrants are evil or have bad intentions; in fact, most do have good intentions and simply want an opportunity for a better life, but face challenging circumstances due to the prolonged immigration system. But that is not to say we can allow for these immigrants to live in this country undocumented, making it difficult to find when they do commit crimes.

It is appalling though, that these agents and ICE are getting heat for arresting an undocumented immigrant who has an alleged warrant for a homicide. In fact, I’m not sure how someone could even argue otherwise with the immense amount of violations Arrona-Lara has committed.

Although many are outraged, this situation may be looked at as a symbol for how the American people are divided on immigration. There are Americans who respect ICE agents for following their patriotic duties. There are Americans who believe that Arrona-Lara should be released immediately and given amnesty, and there are Americans who land somewhere in the middle. It ultimately comes down to what people’s priorities are.

Nonetheless, this kind of outrage has produced a counterattack: there are Americans that believe that anyone who is here without documentation should be removed from the country, and these citizens show an immense amount of respect when ICE agents follow the rule of law and remove these undocumented immigrants from the country.

Regardless, the stigma against law enforcers is absurd, and they should stop being attacked for simply following their patriotic duty of trying to keep the American people safe from any dangerous scenarios regarding immigration. That is the extent of their job description. Any other concerns the immigration disparity this country aches of should be taken up with a local Congressman.

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