ICE, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency, has recently been under scrutiny by the public as well as some politicians in light of the Trump administration zero tolerance policies. ICE, a division within the Department of Homeland Security, is responsible for immigration enforcement, smuggling investigations, and terrorism prevention. It does not directly police the border (which is the responsibility of Customs and Border Protection, a separate agency within the Department of Homeland Security), and is not responsible for the family separation matter.
Supporters of the Abolish ICE Movement believe it is cruel and inhumane to deport law-abiding illegal immigrants, and also believe that ICE terrorizes immigrant communities. The movement began gaining attention after Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won the democratic primary over Republican Joe Crowley in the New York 14th Congressional district, as Cortez stated an interest in abolishing ICE. The movement has been embraced by many Congressional Democrats and others, but not all. While ICE originally prioritized convicted criminals under the Obama administration, it has since expanded to all illegal immigrants under the Trump administration, and the number of arrests it has made has increased under the Trump administration.
President Trump has praised ICE through multiple Twitter posts. On July 5, 2018, the White House released a statement defending ICE, stating that it protects national security, local security, protects from open borders, and terrorism, among other things. Many have protested outside ICE centers and offices. On July 4, 2018, protesters from the Rise and Resist Group hung an “Abolish ICE” banner at the Statue of Liberty. Some wish to abolish ICE entirely and have the previously dissolved Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) take over its responsibilities and simply wish to have legislative changes to ICE operations or reform certain parts of ICE itself.