The agency’s targeting of undocumented immigrants has weakened its employees’ ability to carry out other work, argued 19 officers who signed the letter, which was obtained by the Texas Observer.
The agents work in ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) unit, which focuses on crimes including drug trafficking, human smuggling, and child pornography.
"The perception of investigative independence is unnecessarily impacted by the political nature of civil immigration enforcement," wrote the agents to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. "Many jurisdictions continue to refuse to work with HSI because of a perceived linkage to the politics of civil immigration."
The officers suggested that ICE be dissolved and its work divided among two new separate agencies, one focused on HSI and one focused on Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO)—the unit which has enforced President Donald Trump’s hardline immigration policy.
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