It's an early Saturday morning - you wake up to the sun gleaming on your face while you snooze the alarm for the tenth time.
You smell crisp coffee being made and the soothing voice of your mom singing her favorite Whitney Houston song. You're finally woken up by your little brother jumping up on your bed and dragging you downstairs to have breakfast with the family. You guys share stories of the past week; how you got an A on that science project you worked hard on, your brother has a crush on Jane from art class, and your mom wants to go on a summer family trip. The feeling of home on this Saturday morning is so deep and loving, it's filling the room and hard to contain.
You guys get dressed and decide to continue this day and go to the farmers market. You open the door with the biggest smile on your face and then something happens. In a split second your reality changes, you're pushed to the side and you see the fear on your mom's face. She's being asked questions. "Where is she going?" "Where are her papers?" You remember coming to the United States when you were younger, but this place has always been your home, so you haven't questioned it. In a second, you were home and now your home is questioned, and your mom is gone. She was abducted by ICE.
ICE, which stands for the U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement is a government law enforcement agency that was created in 2003 to enforce immigration, combat terrorism, and combat illegal trade of people and items. There is an annual budget of 6 million to fund homeland security, enforcement and removal operations, Office of the Principal Legal Advisors, and Management and Administration. ICE was created on a broken philosophy after 9/11 when people feared the "other" and needed someone to blame. Immigration arrest has always happened but has been more prevalent and in front of the public because of cameras and the brutal displays, people have been arrested in their front lawns, on their way to pick up their kids, in courthouses. Then sent to the refugee detention center once they have a hearing where they get a public defendant.
They can usually be handcuffed on their way to the center and separated from their family. The men and women are separated and people who have convicted of intense crimes and ones who have not can be mixed in the same center. They can be housed in correctional facilities that can be monitored by a private company, state, or government. Your belongings will usually be taken away from you, you will be given a number and will have to share a space with many other detainees. You may experience abuse and mistreatment from the people working in the facility and it may go unheard of since you may only see your lawyer at limited times. Making phone calls to your family can be expensive and until you are released on the bond you may not know how long you will be detained.
It would be ignorant of me to say that ICE does not do good and they have not stopped childhood trafficking, sex crimes, drug trafficking, gang violence activity, financial crimes and more but then I also can not turn the blind eye at the abuse of power they have to the people they are supposed to protect and give a justifiable chance to. As I scrolled through their website the most powerful word that I saw was 'Alien'. That these human beings have just resorted to examples in the political system and the justice system. If you make a mistake as an immigrant to the United States, you are no longer a human but an alien. You do not deserve rights. There are increasingly racist overtones, about a third of immigrants come from Mexico but the media makes it seem that they are the only ones and the biggest threat to our society. Our own president, Donald Trump, stated in a rally that we should be fearful because they could be "rapists" and "murderers" when we have our own citizens about 56% who are of European descent shoot up schools if a race has to be a factor.
My father who came here at a young age through an education visa and then had to do the paperwork legally took him years to finally get his citizenship. I know many people who have legally documented themselves as citizens. I am not diminishing the law and that there must be boundaries and you must follow the law or there will not be ordered. Representatives in Congress such as Octavia, Cortez and Kamala Harris have pushed to abolish or reform ICE. Reform of an immigration system and policy of compassion is needed. Wasn't this country created on freedom and built on slavery, immigrants, reform, compassion. The system is always changing, folding and unfolding as stories are passed down and we learn from our history. ICE and this immigration system will be a moment of history where we unfold years of pain and try again.