Ex-ICE Chief Says #AbolishICE Groups Should Rethink Goals

The people behind the hashtag #AbolishICE should rethink their cause, says the former head of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Sarah Saldaña, the Dallas prosecutor who headed ICE in the Obama administration, said Wednesday that a new agency would just pop up in its place if the controversial law enforcement agency were abolished. The real goal for activists, Saldaña said, should be an overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws.

“It is not ICE that is the problem,” said Saldaña, who defended the Department of Homeland Security agency’s mission of protecting the U.S. against those who pose a threat. “The problem is not so much the agency and its employees as the policies.”

That line drew applause from attorneys gathered for a Dallas Bar Association luncheon organized by its immigration attorneys. The Trump administration has launched a crackdown on both legal and illegal immigration.

At the event, a line-up of attorneys who have often faced each other as adversaries were recognized for their work.

On behalf of the Dallas group, Saldaña presented a donation to the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, or RAICES. She joked the group once protested her when she was ICE chief and “scared the heck out of my security team.”

Dallas immigration attorney Paul Zoltan was given a life achievement award for his work as the co-founder of an asylum clinic, often used by Central Americans. Zoltan is the son of a Hungarian refugee, a fact that motivated him to establish the clinic with Catholic Charities of Dallas.

Danial Gividen, the deputy chief counsel of ICE’s Dallas regional office, was recognized for professional excellence.

Gividen successfully appealed a deportation decision by Dallas immigration Judge Deitrich Sims to the nation’s highest immigration court, the Board of Immigration Appeals. The judge had ruled against a Mexican immigrant and wanted him deported.

By Dianne Solis for DALLAS NEWS
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