ICE official blunts Democrat criticism of personnel and actions: ‘We’re not a social services agency’

By Jon Dougherty

(NationalSentinel) A ranking official with Immigration and Customs Enforcement sought to blunt rising Democratic criticism of his department following raids last week at six Mississippi businesses, noting that it’s “not a social services agency.”

“We are a law enforcement agency, not a social services agency,” one official, who was not identified, told NBC News.

The official also pushed back against the notion that ICE should have provided some advance warning of the raids, noting that would have alerted illegal aliens and defeated the purpose behind internal enforcement.

The official pushed back against criticism of the department from Left-wing groups and individuals in Mississippi following the internal enforcement actions last week.

The National Education Association and the Mississippi Association of Educators condemned the agency for the raids, saying they were “causing chaos and separating families” as the new school year opened in Mississippi.

“The trauma these students are enduring is inconceivable,” said a joint statement. “The effect the raids will have on their long-term mental and emotional health is profound.”

But some state officials applauded the raids, including Mississippi Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves (R), who then exchanged tweets with U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Democrat who represents Minnesota.

“Glad to see that ICE is working hard to enforce our immigration laws. 680 aliens detained in Mississippi today. We must enforce our laws, for the safety of all Americans. Well done @USAttyHurst and @realDonaldTrump,” the tweet said.

“How dare you applaud as hundreds of children are left orphaned by ICE. How dare you associate danger with this community days after a mass shooting targeting their community. This is the language of dehumanization and its only logical end is violence” Omar responded.

Acting ICE Director Matthew Albence noted in a post-raid interview that secrecy of such operations is essential to their success.

“This was a textbook operation, carried out in a safe manner, and done securely,” Albence said, according to The Washington Post. “Officers were able to execute these warrants in a safe fashion.”

Earlier ICE internal enforcement actions were compromised when details of the operation were leaked to media outlets, who reported them including cities agents were planning to target.

As for the Mississippi operation, Jere Miles, the special agent in charge of the New Orleans office of the Department of Homeland Security’s Investigations unit, noted that agents kept the needs of children in mind during the operation.

For instance, illegal aliens arrested by agents were given access to phones so they could make arrangements for the care of their kids.

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About half of the more than 600 people arrested were released after a day and then returned to their point of origin so they could care for children.

“This is the only operation I am aware where . . . those released are actually taken back to their original point of detention so they are not stuck 60, 70 miles away,” said D. Michael Hurst Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi, The Washington Post reported.

Though Left-wing groups like the ACLU remain critical of the internal enforcement operations, Trump administration officials say the president is committed to continuing them, as well as enforcing all immigration laws.

“Employers need to understand the integrity of their employment record is just as important to the federal government as the integrity of the tax records” they give the IRS, said Greg Nevano, assistant director of investigative programs for HSI.

After the raids, the president himself said during an interview they serve as a “good deterrent” for anyone thinking of illegally crossing into the U.S.

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