Senior Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials met with an activist group that wants to eliminate the agency altogether amidst the worst border crisis in the nation’s history.
Representatives from an organization called the "Detention Watch Network," met with ICE on Jan. 26, according to an agency press release, as part of a "stakeholders" meeting. Three other left-wing organizations were also in attendance.
The Detention Watch Network bills itself as a "national coalition building power through collective advocacy, grassroots organizing, and strategic communications to abolish immigration detention in the United States." Eliminating the detention of illegal aliens, the group believes, is "part and parcel of struggles against racism, xenophobia, discriminatory policing, and mass incarceration."
The meeting comes as officials on the southern border contend with a record number of illegal crossings. President Joe Biden claims he has done "all I can do" to fix the problem. Law enforcement have encountered more than 5.5 million illegal aliens since Biden took office and have released the majority of them into the United States.
"It’s one thing to meet with nonprofits with a diversity of viewpoints, but this is the equivalent to the National Forest Service meeting with arsonists," said Jon Feere, a senior fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies.
The Detention Watch Network is a leader in the "Abolish Ice" movement. Less than a week after the 2020 election, the organization tweeted that "[w]e must remain steadfast to dismantle the systems in this country that are rooted in white supremacy. … That means abolishing ICE and immigration detention."
ICE explained that its meeting with the Detention Watch Network was part of an effort to provide "open lines of communication with stakeholders regarding its mission and operations." The agency did not respond to a request for comment.
In addition to its day-to-day activism, the Detention Watch Network has doled out hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants since 2022 to grassroots organizations that target ICE detention facilities across the country. Those groups include La Resistencia, which states it works "to end the detention of immigrants and stop all deportations."
Immigrant deportations have plummeted since Biden took office. In comparison to the Trump administration, according to a report from the Center for Immigration Studies, there has been a 67 percent decrease in deportations of criminal aliens and a 57 percent decrease in arrests of criminal aliens. The deportation of illegal aliens convicted of sexual assault is down 26 percent and 17 percent for homicide.
Senate negotiators are finalizing a bipartisan deal that proponents say would alleviate the strain on the southern border. An outline of the deal obtained by the Free Beacon says automatic deportations at the southern border would take place after 5,000 illegal crossings are recorded a day for one week. The bill would not increase deportations of illegal aliens living in the United States.