After a spate of dramatic stories of federal immigration police dragging mothers away from their children, arresting a transgender woman in court as she sought a protective order from her abuser, and moving a 26-year-old woman with a brain tumor from a hospital to jail, The New York Times published a stunning story about how much "fun" immigration cops are having.
Under the Obama administration, many Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers said they felt shackled by the directive to focus on violent criminals. But since President Trump greenlit policies to dramatically step up efforts to arrest and deport undocumented immigrants, spirits in the agency are high.
"Morale amongst our agents and officers has increased exponentially since the signing of the orders," the unions representing ICE and Border Patrol agents said in a joint statement after Trump signed the order last month.
The Times reports:
Two officials in Washington said that the shift—and the new enthusiasm that has come with it—seems to have encouraged pro-Trump political comments and banter that struck the officials as brazen or gung-ho, like remarks about their jobs becoming “fun.” Those who take less of a hard line on unauthorized immigrants feel silenced, the officials said.
How nice! Being an immigration law enforcement officer, a role that strikes fear into the hearts of many in immigrant communities, is fun again.
Officers said their work had become more political than ever, and they bristled at what they considered stereotypes of indiscriminate enforcers who want to sweep grandmothers off the street or separate families.
In the story, one one unnamed official did express reservations about where this is all heading, noting that some in the agency are “a little bit more hesitant and fearful about how quickly things are moving.”
That feels like an impulse worth paying attention to.