Immigration and Customs Enforcement on campus (do not publish)

For some, the presence of an Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigation is seemingly nothing to worry about. For others, an ICE investigation could mean your deportation and/or separation from your family.

Take yourself back to 2001. The twin towers have just collapsed on Sept. 11, and a terrorist scare is widespread across America. A startled and confused America wanders through the ash and dust of the fallen buildings. Airport security becomes strict, flights are cancelled and America is weary to fly again. Two years later, under the Bush administration in 2003, emerges ICE, a special task force with the initial purpose of countering terrorist attacks. These facts can be seen alongside others on ICE’s website.

ICE obtains a budget of over six billion dollars a year from the government. 

ICE’s information and data must be requested by a representative of the house. The most recent viewable budget list comes from 2012, when the organization’s budget reached approximately $5.8 billion. The federal organization requested $7.6 billion in 2019. More than twenty thousand officers are employed by ICE. In addition, ICE has over 400 offices across the continental United States.

To clarify, ICE is not solely responsible for separating families at the U.S./Mexico border. The federal organization for that is Customs and Border Protection. ICE specifically deals with homeland security.

For concern of safety, interviews were kept anonymous.

 “I get concerned for my family,” a 20-year-old man said. “Even though my parents and I are U.S. citizens, I have aunts and uncles who could be deported. It’s scary to think about.”

In 2017, University of California, Berkeley released an FAQ list addressing ICE’s ability to investigate on campus. Berkeley stated university police would not be working with ICE. In addition, university police are not able to interfere with ICE investigations. Any college in America cannot stop ICE from entering and investigating on campus.

A simple phone call can initiate a full-on ICE investigation. Legally, ICE can detain any person of interest and hold them until the investigation is over. The detained will remain in a “holding cell” until the investigation is over.

“My cousin’s mom got deported to Mexico,” a 19-year-old woman said. “My aunt left to escape the gang violence down there and hasn’t been to Mexico in over ten years.”

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals has kept some persons safe from deportation, although DACA renewals are becoming increasingly harder to obtain under the Trump administration.

The Immigrant Legal Resource Center explains, “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is an immigration option for undocumented immigrants who came to the United States before the age of 16. Although DACA does not provide a pathway to lawful permanent residence, it does provide temporary protection from deportation, work authorization and the ability to apply for a social security number.” DACA cannot keep any one person safe from ICE investigation.

Many institutions have created a safe(r) place for DACA students, including Kent State University. Previous Kent State President Beverly Warren made a press release in 2017 addressing the White House decision to end DACA. 

“Kent State University will do everything we can to support the DACA students who call our campuses home, and we will strongly advocate for their continued inclusion in our communities. We are committed to all students who look to our university for an education — their foundation — for making a positive impact on the world,” noted Warren in her 2017 press release.

Current Kent State President Todd Diacon has yet to address this issue.

“My parents are still trying to become American citizens,” a 22-year-old woman said. “They have done a lot to keep me here in America.”

On Aug. 7, 2017, the single largest ICE workplace raid took place in Forest, Mississippi at Koch Foods, Inc. where they employed several undocumented people. ICE arrested approximately 680 people in seven different plants in Mississippi. The raid left workers incarcerated, awaiting trial. During this time they were separated from their families with no exceptions.

The purpose of this article is not to scare the audience, but rather make them aware of situations that could affect people and their loved ones. 

U.S. citizenship does not come easily. Citizenship is that of a timely and costly venture.

“I am currently in America only through school. I don’t know what I will do (about citizenship) when I am done getting my bachelor’s,” a 22-year-old man said. “The thought of ICE police does intimidate me … but I have to have hope that immigration laws will change, because one day I wish to have children and have them go to school here.”

 Editor: Maria McGinnis, [email protected]