The last year has been a fruitful one for Immigrations and Custom Enforcement, but it looks like large-scale raids, license plate database access, and a presence a tthe actual Super Bowl are no longer enough to slake its unquenchable thirst for more power. According to a new report in The Daily Beast, ICE is also very eager to join the country’s Intelligence Community.
The prospect of an increasingly-weaponized ICE isn’t anything new, as internal advocates have been lobbying for expanding agency’s spy capabilities for going on a decade. But whereas a modicum of reason has prevailed in years past, the White House now seems far more likely to support the effort, and civil liberties proponents are justifiably concerned. As Patrick Toomey, an attorney with the ACLU’s National Security Project, told the outlet:
“The prospect of ICE joining the Intelligence Community, if true, should sound alarm bells,” he said. “Such a move threatens to give an agency responsible for domestic immigration enforcement access to a vast pool of sensitive information collected by our spy agencies for foreign intelligence purposes. Those spying tools do not belong in the hands of ICE agents.”
ICE’s membership in the intelligence community would dramatically widen the scope of its access to raw data, which would be very useful for its ability to investigate drug trafficking, money laundering, cybercrimes and the like. That’s the benefit on paper, if you’re credulous enough to believe that the agency operates responsibly and within its legal limits, which it demonstrably does not.
The piece concludes by saying that “Trump could put ICE in the IC by executive order, though that would be unusual.” Wouldn’t be the first time, would it?
Read the full report at The Daily Beast here.