Nebraska Politics

Dems Need to Commit to Dismantling ICE

This post will discuss the policy of separating children and parents at the border, the rampant child abuse once in custody, and the lies and dehumanization tactics used by the administration to rationalize their abusive policies. We will also state some hard to swallow truths about the history of the US government separating children from their parents. At the end of this post is a list of actions you can take as an outraged Nebraskan.


The White House is committing exactly the kind of gross human rights violations that previous generations of the GOP would use as an excuse to invade other countries.

Your government is kidnapping children as a means of deterring immigrants. The separation of children from parents is just the sort of genocidal abuse that happened at Auschwitz, not something any sane democracy would allow, right?


A prison bus for babies owned by GEO, the private corporation that runs and profits from ICE detention centers.

A prison bus for babies owned by GEO, the private corporation that runs and profits from ICE detention centers.

Already, 1,475 children have been kidnapped and lost. Many of them are just babies. Yes, our society is so toxic at this point that the same people who were in an uproar over a fake child trafficking ring in an imaginary pizza store basement are now unfazed that almost 1,500 real children have been kidnapped and disappeared by official government policy.

After a number of immigrant children were released into the care of traffickers in 2014, the restrictions on who the Office of Refugee Resettlement will release a child to were tightened. We can hope that these kids are “missing” because they are living with family members who are safe and almost certainly don’t want to interact with the government more than necessary. Who could blame them?

report from the ACLU uncovered  “rampant abuse” of children in border custody as early as 2008. Children describe “being stomped on, punched, kicked, run over with vehicles, tased, and forced to maintain stress positions by CBP officials.” Accusations also include bullying and outright verbal abuse by border patrol officials, who called young children “dog,” “piece of crap,” “son of a bitch,” and “prostitute,” as well as telling them that they “contaminate this country.”  Children in custody near the southern border have said they have been threatened with rape, and ordered to remove their clothes before questioning.

This news comes just after border patrol shot 20-year-old Claudia Patricia Gómez González in the head.  

Remember when Deb Fischer said she wouldn’t confirm Betsy DeVos, but decided to do it anyway because she “believed in Devos’ ability to lead.” Well, Betsy DeVos wants schools to report immigrant children to ICE, effectively turning our schools into child trafficking routing houses. That’s leadership Deb Fischer can really get behind, apparently.

In order to create justification for such a bureaucracy of unafraid abusers, the GOP is racializing “gore porn” or sensationalized stories of rape and violence to push an agenda of mass deportations, all the while abetting the daily violence of young white male terrorists radicalized in American gun culture and shooting children in schools.

Further, Trump is lying about the situation to his base in his typical abusive, gaslighting propaganda fashion. Despite separating children from their parents being an outright tactic of this administration that Sessions gladly bragged about on camera, Trump said:

“Put pressure on the Democrats to end the horrible law that separates children from there {sic} parents once they cross the Border into the U.S. Catch and Release, Lottery and Chain must also go with it and we MUST continue building the WALL! DEMOCRATS ARE PROTECTING MS-13 THUGS.”

Now Trump is using the ongoing state-sanctioned kidnapping of children as a taunt against his opponents in an abuser’s unhinged “look what you made me do” gaslighting rant.




This is unbearable.

Now we have to ask you to swallow another pill. Sit down. Take all the time you need to process this.

And keep in mind that acceptance is the first step toward transformation.



There is nothing new about the separation and abuse of children from their families in the United States. These current abuses are not unprecedented. Instead, abuses like this are a vast majority of our history. Once we understand that the US is a nation built on brutality, genocidal violence, exploitation, and terror, we can come closer to seeing the changes we need to make.

If you are not familiar with the US’s dark past of separating nonwhite children from their parents, please browse the information in footnotes [1] and [2] below for a few basic examples. Knowing this history will help you to better process the current actions of ICE and the Trump administration, and the cognitive dissonance you might see in his supporters who believe nothing is amiss with the revelation that kids are being separated from their parents and abused. They aren’t wrong to see this as business as usual, despite the cruelty. John Kelly assures you that it is not ‘cruel’ to separate families at the border because “children will be put into foster care or whatever.” Only, it IS wrong and it IS cruel. We need everyone who objects to this cruelty to interrogate their own knowledge and acceptance of history and to call our other histories of these abuses wrong, too.

For white supremacists like our founding fathers (yes, I did just call them that–it is an appropriate description of their policies) and for cultural and historical leaders for almost the entirety of our history, “family values” were not considered incompatible with policies that were specifically designed to break apart families. We can’t just blame the current president or the current GOP alone for centuries of barbaric policy and behavior. We have to cut it out the root.

Undocumented people and asylum seekers were also targeted under Obama. The ACLU report mentioned above covers events starting in 2008, and continues throughout Obama’s presidency. This has been the violent mode of operation of this country since the beginning, regardless of which party has been in charge. Accepting this bitter reality will help us stop being blindsided by policies and programs that abuse children and nonwhite people, and start expecting and rejecting them.


So what do we do? Is it all too big to solve?

We need to be honest with ourselves and what we’ve allowed and even benefited from in the past. We need to take back patriotism and redefine it as a new community that looks forward, instead of resting on whitewashed history.

Here are some of the options for action that we have as Nebraskans:


Call your Representatives

This is a difficult suggestion to make on a Nebraska blog because all of us know that our reps are definitely some of the furthest to the back of the human centipede when it comes to eating this administration’s toxic shit. Fortenberry, Bacon, Fischer, Sasse — none of them have any intention of serving their constituents and never have.

That said, get in the regular practice of calling your representatives and demanding action. Democracy should work that way, despite the current representation’s behavior. Even if we manage to work hard enough to help Democrats take control in November, we still want them to do better than past representatives and we’ll need to call them, too.


Join existing efforts


Don’t fall for a tracking trap!

Well meaning folks have been suggesting some unhelpful, dangerous solutions to track these kids down and keep tabs on them in the future. Don’t ask anyone to track immigrant children after they’ve been safely released to a parent or relative more than we would track any other child. This is a mistake to suggest and it would be dangerous to implement under the guise of child safety.

Since many of these kids were processed by the Office of Refugee Resettlement, if procedures were followed they were likely released into the care of someone they knew. When this is the case, understand that ICE would love nothing more than to be  empowered to do ‘wellness checks’ and see if they can scoop up any undocumented family members in the process.


Support Immigrants Rights Groups in Nebraska 


Join a protest

ACLU People Power is planning #FamiliesBelongTogether Rallies on Friday, June 1 in both Lincoln and Omaha. The events will focus on ICE, who apprehends and separates families, and US Attorneys who enforce the separation.


Abolish ICE

No, not like Scott Pruitt’s plan to use the EPA to make ice disappear faster than ever. I mean dismantle the whole ICE program.

Perhaps it feels too radical to you right now to consider abolishing ICE for good, but hear me out. ICE has only existed since 2003. It was a mistake then, and an even bigger mistake to continue under this administration now.

Mass deportation is incompatible with democracy and human rights. The purpose of ICE is to break up American families. Under Trump, ICE agents have become the grasping, predatory hands of this administration’s worst unhinged and un-American impulses.

Undocumented people are rounded up from their homes, workplaces, and off the street and arrested in front of their children. Just like Dear Leader and this administration, ICE treats human beings like they’re animals.

What about “the good ones”, you may ask of ICE agents that do not abuse children. Look, we are not seeing ICE agents speaking out or quitting despite being surrounded by power-tripping bullies. There are no good ones. And if there are, who cares? They are not definitive of ICE–the policies and track record are.

If you don’t believe me, listen to Samantha Bee. She’s a lot more funny and palatable.



Tell your State Senator introduce a bill similar to LB1082

Just last November, the Dakota County Sheriff’s Office led by Chris Kleinberg applied to become part of ICE’s program to allow jailers to enforce immigration laws locally as part of the dangerous 287(g) program, which empowered Joe Arpaio and his county jailers in Maricopa County’s jail until they were banned for racial profiling and civil rights abuses. Sheriff Chris Kleinberg’s application came just a month after Trump pardoned Arpaio for his conviction of violating a federal judge’s order to stop detaining suspected undocumented immigrants.

Kleinberg said the move was blown out of promotion and objected to the criticisms. He said that he housed ICE detainees in his 136-bed jail to increase revenue because the county is “hurting for funds,” and he usually has “25 or 35 empty cells that can be leased to the feds.”

Nearly 50 Nebraska businesses in Dakota County asked Kleinberg not to go through with the ICE contract that would empower local deputies to enforce federal immigration laws. The businesses pointed out that it would be a waste of local tax dollars that would significantly affect their small businesses. They also brought up a lot of the same reasons that Joe Arpaio and his lot were banned, including racial profiling and civil rights violations.

“We are especially concerned that the Dakota County Sheriff has stated he has a financial motive for taking this action, in order to draw down federal dollars. This demonstrates a troubling misunderstanding of the 287(g) program and discounts the negative experience other law enforcement agencies have encountered such as increased costs for local taxpayers, potential liability for civil rights violations, and negative impacts on community relations which undermines our shared public safety objectives,” said Rose Godinez, Legal & Policy Counsel for the ACLU of Nebraska. “The Dakota County Sheriff’s office has a troubled history with discrimination claims and jail overcrowding which are additional factors community members need to know about when evaluating this risky proposition.”

Chris Kleinberg of the Dakota County Sheriff signed the agreement with ICE, anyway.

In response to this during the legislative session, State Senator Tony Vargas introduced LB1082 to require jails, law enforcement agencies, and the Nebraska State Patrol to provide public notice before entering into agreements like this once to enforce federal immigration law. It did not advance.

Tell your State Senator to introduce a bill similar to LB1082. Better yet, push for a bill that stops Nebraska agencies from entering into these agreements at all.


Oppose Immigrant Entrapment Bills

Be very careful of accepting narratives that seem to say that the point of Trump’s immigration reform is just to enforce laws equally. More often than not, these bill are dog whistle nationalist bills designed to entrap immigrants, asylum seekers, and refugees. Senator Brewer’s LB 505 would have created a refugee watch list, for example. He also submitted LB165, which would have required employer identification numbers and use of the federal immigration verification system to essentially force employers to alert ICE to the whereabouts of anyone looking for a job.

Oppose bills like these and vote to deport him from our legislature as soon as possible.


Tell Nebraska candidates to add abolishing ICE to their platforms

Dismantling ICE should be part of the Democratic platform. ICE​ is terrorizing American communities by going into schools, entering hospitals, conducting massive raids, and separating children from parents every day. YOU, the taxpayer, are funding those activities.

You might say, but we need Democratic candidates to win in November and we can’t win if we don’t compromise. I need you to really hear what you are saying when you want to compromise by keeping America’s Gestapo in play with overlords you deem more decent. Besides, anyone who voted for Trump will continue voting for trash as long as it speaks to their rage. There’s no hope in finding middle ground with someone who united with the KKK and literal Nazis and yes, even ICE. If we are to win elections in November and save this country from spiraling into fascist hell, we need to activate people who didn’t or wouldn’t vote with policies that will make a real difference worth showing up for. This is one.




[1] Native American families have had their children forcibly stripped from them for centuries. Many churches had Indian Placement Programs that removed Native children from their communities and placed them into the homes of the members of the church.

Before the the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) was enacted in 1978, 25%–35% of all Native children were being removed; of these, 85% were placed outside of their families and communities—even when relatives were available.

Today, Native children are still 2.7 times more likely to be removed from their families and placed in foster care. In South Dakota, nearly 50% of children in foster care are Native even though they are only 1-2% of the US population.


[2] Families of slaves were regularly separated when children were sold off. “Domestic breeding” (rape, impregnation) of slave girls as young as 10 was a standard practice.