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No. 2 ICE Official Rejects Subordinates’ Push to Split Agency

The second in command at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement says he opposes a request by 19 regional supervisors to break the agency in two, with one focused on human smuggling and drug trafficking, and the other focused on removing illegal immigrants.

Matthew T. Albence, the agency’s acting deputy director, said the divisions of ICE—Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)—have “very complementary missions,” and he doesn’t think it would be wise to break them apart.

Albence is also the ICE executive associate director for enforcement and removal.

In a June letter to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, 19 special agents in charge with Homeland Security Investigations cited the politics surrounding so-called “sanctuary” jurisdictions and politics as getting in the way of their mission, which is unrelated to deporting illegal immigrants.

“HSl’s investigations have been perceived as targeting undocumented aliens, instead of the transnational criminal organizations that facilitate cross-border crimes impacting our communities and national security,” said the letter, first reported by the Texas Observer. It continues: “Many jurisdictions continue to refuse to work with HSI because of a perceived linkage to the politics of civil immigration.”

The letter also states: “The two ICE sub-agencies have become so specialized and independent that ICE’s mission can no longer be described as a singular synergistic mission; it can only be described as a combination of the two distinct missions.”

Albence, the ICE acting deputy director, told The Daily Signal this week at the White House that the proposed split would not be effective.

“I don’t think that’s a viable option. We have very complementary missions,” he said of the two divisions, enforcement/removal and transnational investigations.

“Much of what they do involves immigration enforcement,” he explained. “The human smuggling and trafficking investigations that they do, a lot of the border crime involves both these smuggling networks that are smuggling drugs and also smuggling people.

Read the full story from The Daily Signal

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