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ICE Out of Control: Time to Rein in Rogue Agency and Pass Immigration Reform

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Today, a group of grassroots leaders are demanding that the Obama Administration fire John Morton, the head of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) within the Department of Homeland Security. 

Deepak Bhargava of the Center of Community Change, a lead organizer of the immigration rally in Washington, D.C. on March 21st and a leader of FIRM (Fair Immigration Reform Movement), had this to say at today’s press conference:

“This agency has gone rogue and is operating in clear opposition to the direction President Obama has set.”

What gives?  It seems the stated priorities of President Obama may not be in sync with the cowboy tactics of ICE agents in the field. 

The President gets it.  He has always gotten it.  In 2008 candidate Obama had this to say to the NCLR convention in San Diego:

“When communities are terrorized by ICE immigration raids, when nursing mothers are torn from their babies, when children come home from school to find their parents missing, when people are detained without access to legal counsel, when all that is happening, the system just isn’t working, and we need to change it.” 

Little more than a week ago, President Obama told a gathering of over 200,000 activists that he heard their plea and was standing as a partner with them in fixing the “broken immigration system.” Here’s part of what Obama said, via video, to the marchers:

I’ve always pledged to be your partner as we work to fix our broken immigration system and that’s a commitment that I reaffirm today. Nobody knows the cost of inaction better than you. You see it in the families that are torn apart and the small business owners who try to do the right thing while others game the system. You see it in the workers, who deserve the protection of our laws and the officers who struggle to keep our communities safe while earning the trust of those they serve.