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ICE is the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency. ICE is the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). ICE’s top priority is to promote homeland security and public safety through the criminal and civil enforcement of federal laws governing border control, customs, trade and immigration.

ICE was created in 2003 when the investigative and interior enforcement elements of the former U.S. Customs Service and the Immigration and Naturalization Service were combined into a new agency.

ICE, an agency within the DHS, is the third largest criminal investigative agency in the federal government.

What is ERO?

ERO is the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and is the largest investigative arm of the DHS. There are 24 ERO Field Offices located throughout the United States. These field offices provide air transportation to transfer aliens to certain detention locations in order to remove aliens and take them back to their countries of origin.

ERO’s mission is to uphold public safety, border security and our nation’s immigration laws by providing a law enforcement presence, conducting targeted enforcement operations and working in partnership with federal, state, local and international law enforcement agencies and victims of crime.

ERO is responsible for identifying, arresting, and removing aliens who present a danger to national security or are a risk to public safety, as well as those who enter the United States illegally or otherwise undermine the integrity of our immigration laws and our border control efforts.

ICE: Highly Controversial

ICE has become a lightning rod for controversy over its enforcement of immigration laws. ICEs increased emphasis on interior enforcement of immigration laws, including increased raids on businesses suspected of hiring illegal immigrants, has led to a backlash from immigrant groups who are protesting the agencys tactics and from employers who complain that ICE is targeting them for unfair enforcement. The agency has also become a target for criticism from other federal law enforcement agencies that say ICE is encroaching on their jurisdiction and taking resources away from other programs. ICE has also been the target of criticism for its role in the arrest and detention of illegal immigrants. Critics have accused ICE of using harsh tactics in the arrest and detention of illegal immigrants.

In 2018, protests were held outside of ICE field office in San Francisco, calling for the abolishment of the agency. The protesters posted signs, “ABOLISH ICE” on the entrance of the building and one protester scaled the front door of the building with the sign reading “ICE CREATES CHAOS.”

ICE protesters

According to the agency’s website, “ICE is committed to smart immigration enforcement, preventing terrorism, and combatting the illegal movement of people and goods.”

ICE and Business

Business owners who are prepared to handle an ICE inspection of their business can be proactive and reduce the risks and inconvenience of an inspection. One of the best ways to protect your business is to make sure that you are in compliance with all federal immigration laws. The first step in protecting your business from an ICE inspection is to make sure that you are in compliance with the I9 Employment Eligibility Verification form. The I9 must be completed for each employee. If you have hired employees who are not authorized to work in the U.S., you should terminate those employees immediately and replace them with employees who are authorized to work in the U.S. It is also important to understand the difference between a civil and criminal ICE inspection. A criminal inspection is a search of your business. A civil inspection is not a search and does not require the presence of a law enforcement officer. A civil inspection is typically conducted to verify the employment eligibility of your employees.


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