U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

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U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), created in March 2003, is "the largest investigative branch" of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

"The agency was created after 9/11, by combining the law enforcement arms of the former Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and the former U.S. Customs Service, to more effectively enforce our immigration and customs laws and to protect the United States against terrorist attacks. ICE does this by targeting illegal immigrants: the people, money and materials that support terrorism and other criminal activities. ICE is a key component of the DHS 'layered defense' approach to protecting the nation," its website states. [1]

Operation Scheduled Departure

In August 2008, following a raid on a meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa that was condemned as "inhumane" [1] and "a Kafkaesque travesty of justice," [2] U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) launched "Operation Scheduled Departure." For three weeks, the program gave undocumented immigrants in five cities incentives to deport themselves. An ICE official said the program "allows them to leave on their own terms." ICE also offered to help cover immigrants' transportation costs. [3]

ICE called "Scheduled Departure" a "compassionately conceived enforcement initiative." But the director of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights slammed the program as an attempt "to put a happy face on what have been really brutal actions." He added that those targeted by the program "are desperately trying to stay in the United States, because they have U.S.-born children ... they have spouses, they have jobs, many of them have homes." [4]

After the program ended on August 22, 2008, ICE declared "Scheduled Departure" a failure, since only eight people participated. "I think this proves the only method that works is enforcement," concluded ICE official Jim Hayes. ICE admitted that the program was designed in part "to quell criticism by immigrant advocates that its enforcement efforts were disruptive to families." Hayes said of immigrant rights activists, "They want a more vulnerable America." Immigration lawyer Lisa Ramirez expressed concerned that ICE may now use the failure of "Scheduled Departure" to "fuel their enforcement even further." [5]


Access biographical links here.

Contact information

List of contacts for ICE divisions: http://www.ice.gov/about/contact.htm
Website: http://www.ice.gov/

Articles and resources

Related SourceWatch articles


  1. Eunice Moscoso, "Migrant raids inhumane, Hispanic lawmakers say," The Austin-American Statesman (Texas), May 26, 2008.
  2. David Neiwert, "The Postville ICE Raid: An Enormous Abuse of Power," Orcinus blog via AlterNet, July 30, 2008.
  3. Amy Taxin, "Here illegally? Give up, ICE says: 'Self-deportation' offered to avoid arrest trauma, detention," Associated Press, August 5, 2008.
  4. "Critics Say 'Scheduled Departure' Is PR Stunt," NPR's "Day to Day," August 5, 2008.
  5. "Feds scrap immigrant self-deportation program," Associated Press, August 22, 2008.

External resources

External articles