Skip to content Skip to navigation

ICE in Racine: A Broader Perspective From Fresh Air

With at least five residents recently picked up for deportation by ICE, Racine is getting a first-hand taste of the Trump administration's policy on immigration. 

On Fresh Air this week, Terry Gross spoke with the author of a new magazine article that traces the history of ICE and our immigration policies.

Click here for the program. Below is her on-line preface.  

"The Pew Research Center estimates that there are about 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States — and that approximately two-thirds of them have been here for more than a decade.

Journalist Frank Foer says that for many years, there was a tacit agreement among politicians of both parties that there would be a pathway to citizenship for many of the long-term undocumented immigrants.

"They rooted themselves within our communities. ... They raise children who are U.S. citizens," Foer says. "There had been this consensus that they could stay."

But shortly after President Trump was sworn into office, he passed an executive orderthat criminalized anyone in the country illegally — opening the door for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) to deport any undocumented immigrant.

Foer says that the policy was unprecedented: "Never before have we had such a large, dedicated police force whose mission is to remove undocumented immigrants from the communities in which they're rooted."

Foer's new Atlantic cover story, "How Trump Radicalized ICE," reveals that immigration enforcement has been handed over to a small group of militant, anti-immigration hawks, who cultivate fear to accomplish their goal of driving out undocumented immigrants.

In the past, Foer says, ICE was forbidden from operating in places like schools, churches and hospitals, which are known as "sensitive locations." Now, he says, "there's growing anecdotal evidence that ICE hasn't overturned the policy of sensitive locations, but they've given themselves ever greater latitude to operate in those places where they'd once been forbidden."