The 'Abolish ICE' movement is growing quickly. Here's why.

Photo by Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images.

In recent weeks, calls for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to be abolished have grown increasingly stronger.

The agency has received backlash after reports revealed numerous incidents where ICE agents abused their power: Agents conducting raids at the homes of non-criminal immigrants, separating children from their parents at the border, subjecting children and adult undocumented immigrants to verbal threats and physical abuse, refusing medical care to those in need, and destroying records of immigrant abuse, including sexual assault and death.

The calls to abolish ICE have risen as a response to the Trump administration's chaotic border immigration strategy and the means by which ICE was enforcing these policies — the most infamous has been the "zero-tolerance" policy that led to the separation of thousands of children from their parents at the border.


The movement to abolish ICE is building political momentum.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won her New York Democratic primary against incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley with a campaign centered on abolishing ICE. Cynthia Nixon, who is running for New York governor against incumbent Andrew Cuomo, took a more bold stance when she referred to ICE as a "terrorist organization," calling for its removal.

New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio has also called for eliminating the agency. Even Kirsten Gillibrand, who is often noted as a "conservative Democrat," has called for the agency to be either eliminated or "reimagined." She's the first sitting senator to do so.

Most recently, several ICE agents have weighed in, penning a letter that calls to dissolve the agency.

In the letter, addressed to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, 19 ICE investigators supported the elimination of their agency.

But there's a catch. The investigators don't necessarily want to abolish ICE. Rather, they propose the DHS create two bureaus: one specifically for criminal investigations and another for immigration enforcement and deportations.

The investigators' main concern was that the Trump administration's clampdown on immigration and its aggressive deportation of undocumented people were hindering the agency's other responsibilities. As The New York Times identified, these investigators often work in departments dedicated to investigating major criminal offenses ranging from cyber-crimes, drug smuggling, and human trafficking.

But more importantly, we hope that more ICE agents take a stand against inhumane and discriminatory practices within the Trump administration and agency.

Despite the Trump administration's claims to protect national security and fight against drugs and crime, Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wisconsin), who recently introduced legislation to abolish ICE, believes that the policies manifested by Trump and enforced by ICE are not done in the best interest of the American people. As Pocan said to Rolling Stone:

"The whole idea of a wall wasn't brought up because we need one, or because we have a problem with people coming into the country in mass amounts. This has been declining in the past 10 years."

Pocan went on to argue that these policies enacted by Donald Trump and enforced by ICE are meant to appease a certain voter base that espouse white supremacist views.

But it looks as though attitudes toward ICE are changing. Let’s just hope more agents within ICE come forward in standing against the agency's abuse of power.

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Courtesy of Macy's

In many ways, 18-year-old Idaho native, Hank Cazier, is like any other teenager you've met. He loves chocolate, pop music, and playing games with his family. He has lofty dreams of modeling for a major clothing company one day. But one thing that sets him apart may also jeopardize his future is his recent battle against a brain tumor.

Cazier was diagnosed in 2015. When he had surgery to remove the tumor, he received trauma to his brain and lost some of his motor functionality. He's been in physical, occupational, and speech therapy ever since. The experience impacted Cazier's confidence and self-esteem, so he's been looking for a way to build himself back up again.

"I wanted to do something that helped me look forward to the future," he says.

Enter Make-A-Wish, a nonprofit organization that grants wishes for children battling critical illnesses, providing them a chance to make the impossible possible. The organization partnered with Macy's to raise awareness and help make those wishes a reality. The hope is that the "wish effect" will improve their quality of life and empower them with the strength they need to overcome these illnesses and look towards the future. That was a particularly big deal for Cazier, who had been feeling like so many of his wishes weren't going to be possible because of his critical illness.

"In the beginning, it was hard to accept that it would be improbable for me to accomplish my previous goals because my illness took away so many of my physical abilities," says Cazier. His wish of becoming a model also seemed out of reach.

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Courtesy of Macy's

Make-A-Wish can't fulfill children's wishes without the generosity of donors and partners like Macy's. In fact, since 2003, Macy's has given more than $122 million to Make-A-Wish and impacted the lives of more than 2.9 million people.

Cazier's wish experience was beyond what he could've imagined, and it filled him with so much joy and confidence. "It is like waking up and discovering that you have super powers. It feels amazing!" he exclaims.

One of the best parts about the day for him was the kindness everyone who helped make it happen showed him.

"The employees of Macy's and Make-A-Wish made me feel welcome, warm, and cared for," he says. "I am truly grateful that even though they were busy doing their jobs, they were able to show kindness and compassion towards me in all of the little details."

He also got to spend part of the shoot outdoors, which, as someone who loves climbing, hiking, and scuba-diving but has trouble doing those activities now, was very welcome.

Courtesy of Macy's

Overall, Cazier feels he grew a lot during his modeling wish and is now emboldened to work towards a better quality of life. "I want to acquire skills that help me continue to improve in these circumstances," he says.

You can change the lives of more kids like Cazier just by writing a letter to Santa and dropping it in the big red letterbox at Macy's (you can also write and submit one online). For every letter received before Dec. 24, 2019, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million. By writing a letter to Santa, you can help a child replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy, and anxiety with hope.

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