The Case to Abolish ICE

By Dustin R

The Immigrant Justice Working Group (IJWG) is engaged in several efforts to achieve our goals of aiding New York City's immigrant communities and the broader sanctuary movement, standing in solidarity with immigrant-led advocacy groups, and fighting for the labor rights of immigrant workers. In recent weeks, as the federal government's racist war on immigrants in the US has escalated, Working Group members have also marched to demand the abolishment of ICE, an end to detentions, and a true sanctuary city status for NYC without racist "broken windows" policing.

As the NYC DSA continues to grow (welcome, new comrades!), and with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s win in the NY-14 primary on an explicit platform of abolishing ICE heralding broader local support for reforming federal immigration policy,  the IJWG wants to set out what ICE abolishment means to us as socialists. Specifically, abolishing ICE alone is insufficient: capitalism drives a detention-deportation complex of which ICE is a single organ. ICE's parent agency, the Department of Homeland Security, is just as mired in racism, and private companies operate prisons and jails built to prey upon people of color. This we declare: human dignity does not stop at a line on a map.

Since its founding in 2002, DHS has pursued and enforced Islamophobic and anti-immigrant policies in the name of national security, a euphemism for securing white supremacy through immigration bans and detentions. Refusing to issue visas to Muslims harms families and the general community, with the same xenophobic root as border family separations. We demand the abolishment of DHS. To impede DHS and ICE locally, we advocate barring state agencies from cooperating with federal agencies with regard to immigration status and the state-level pardoning of immigrants facing deportation. New York must be a true sanctuary state for immigrants.

Mass deportation and detention cannot be adequately confronted without also challenging the mass incarceration machine that has existed for decades in the United States, imprisoning its citizens at rates and in sheer numbers without peer in the world. Police departments across the country enforce a regime that impoverishes, arrests, and kills primarily non-whites. Moreover, in just the last few decades, US imperialism has killed hundreds of thousands and displaced millions attempting to escape the nightmares that our country has precipitated to extract more wealth. It is clear that the systems acting in concert with ICE to convert human life into capital must be abolished.

We call for an end to the basis and objectives of ICE. We call for amnesty and a path to citizenship for all immigrants. We call for the abolition of any law, organization, or policy that imprisons or restricts the free movement of people of color. We cannot consider this a just society, or a just world, until this has been achieved.

The IJWG has monthly meetings to discuss how best to accomplish the above and deliberate on future actions. There's much to be done, but it's vital work. By working together and with the community we can all really help. Please join us by sending an e-mail to immigrant.justice [at]