Immigration US: 8 Facts About ICE That You Should Know

By February 26, 2020Immigration Law Blog
immigration US

When we talk about immigration, US organization ICE. is a source of many questions for both U.S. immigrants and U.S. citizens. Today we’re going to try to eliminate some of that mystery by sharing a few ICE facts with you.

Immigration US: 8 Facts About ICE That You Should Know

So, what do you need to know about immigration U.S. organization ICE?

1. ICE Has Three Main Responsibilities…

ICE has three main responsibilities, these include:

  • Immigration enforcement.
  • Investigation of illegal movement of people and goods.
  • The prevention of terrorism.

2. ICE Is a Very Large Organization

ICE has more than 20,000 employees with 400 offices around the U.S. and abroad. The ICE budget is currently $7.5 billion, more than double what the budget was when ICE was first created. The largest portion of this $7.5 billion budget goes to Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO), they receive $4.8 billion annually. The second most funded branch of ICE is Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) with an annual budget of $2 billion.

3. ICE Does Not Prioritize Which Undocumented Immigrants Are Targeted For Removal…

At the current time, ICE does not prioritize which undocumented immigrants are targeted for removal. However, high profile cases are generally targeted as a priority. High profile cases include fugitive aliens – aliens who are wanted for criminal activity, aliens who pose a national security risk, and others who meet the priorities for removal set by the Secretary of Homeland Security.

4. ICE Has a Sensitive Locations Policy

The Sensitive Locations policy was developed in 2011 and it prohibits ICE immigration enforcement activities in “sensitive” locations. These locations include:

  • Schools (pre-schools, primary schools, secondary schools, post-secondary schools, colleges and universities, and other learning institutions such as vocational or trade schools);
  • Hospitals;
  • Churches, synagogues, mosques, or other institutions of worship, such as buildings rented for the purpose of religious services;
  • The site of a funeral, wedding, or other public religious ceremonies; and
  • Public demonstrations, such as a march, rally, or parade.

Exceptions may be made to this policy when officials have prior approval or if there is an immediate need for enforcement due to exigent circumstances. Exigent circumstances may include instances of a national security threat, the pursuit of a dangerous felon, when there is an imminent risk of harm, or when there is a risk of destruction of evidence in a criminal case.

Additionally, the sensitive locations policy does not apply to some enforcement operations when they take place within 100 miles of the border. These activities are carried out when there is reasonable certainty that an immigrant just crossed the U.S. border or when the Department of Homeland Security has been surveilling the immigrant since they crossed the border.

Some ICE activities are may be carried out in sensitive locations, however, these include obtaining records and serving subpoenas.

5. Congress Has Ruled That ICE Must Have a Specific Number of Beds Available in Detainment

Ice is required by Congress to have a specific number of beds available in detainment, this number varies from year to year. In 2018 this number was 40,520 beds. These detainment facilities include private prisons operated by federal contractors and local jails under Inter-Governmental Service Agreements or U.S. Marshal Service Intergovernmental Agreements.

6. Worksite Enforcement is Carried Out By HSI

HSI – Homeland Security Investigations is a subsection of ICE and they are responsible for carrying out worksite enforcement activities. When HSI investigates a worksite they investigate both employees and employers and they take anyone in violation of the law into custody. A major focus of these activities is to identify and punish employers who exploit undocumented immigrants and flaunt federal laws. This does not prevent them from taking undocumented immigrants into custody and beginning deportation procedures, however.

7. The Deconstruction of ICE

While under the Trump presidency ICE activity has skyrocketed and the number of immigrants taken into federal custody has too, it has become a source of criticism among many. In fact, the increased activity and authority granted to ICE has created so much criticism that many 2020 presidential candidates are making the deconstruction of ICE a major component of their platform. For example, Bernie Sanders is calling for the deconstruction of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

While the ICE organization may not be completely dismantled by all of the 2020 presidential candidates, there is little doubt that most if not all alternative candidates will make changes to the system as it is being enforced by President Trump.

8. Being Undocumented or An Immigrant Does Not Eliminate Your Fundamental Rights Even When ICE Comes Into the Picture

Many undocumented immigrants and immigrants believe that when ICE raids take place, they have no rights and no control over the situation. This is not true. Even if you are an undocumented immigrant, you have rights and these rights cannot be denied to you no matter what your immigration status. A great resource to find out more about your rights is the Informed Immigrant website. On this site you will also find what is called a “red card”. A red card is a card that you can carry with you that look similar to business cards and list your rights under the constitution of the United States and also have a statement on them that you would like to exercise your rights. If you are confronted by an ICE agent, you can simply hand this card to them without having to say anything or risk potentially incriminating yourself.

Are You In Need of an Immigration US Attorney?

If you need a U.S. immigration attorney and you live in or around the Pasadena, California area, Nelson and Associates can help. Just give us a call today at 626-683-3451 to set up a consultation to see how we can help you.