Ethics Of Immigration Law Term Paper

Length: 13 pages Sources: 10 Subject: Family and Marriage Type: Term Paper Paper: #82368635 Related Topics: Trail Of Tears, Police Ethics, Drug Cartel, Isis
Excerpt from Term Paper :

Ethical Review of ICE

This final report will be a review of the non-profit or governmental agency of the author's choosing. The report will explore the two higher-end topics of ethics and social justice. When it comes to those two topics, there is one agency that just stands out as a great agency or entity to focus on and that is the Immigration and Custom Enforcement Agency, which is part of the broader Department of Homeland Security. The subject of immigration, the status of undocumented migrants and the overall actions (or inactions) of ICE have been a subject of much discussion. There have been presidential orders, courts reversing or blocking those orders, proposed bills in Congress, campaign trail rhetoric and a lot of divergence between what the stated law happens to be and what is actually happening instead. There is also a lot of social banter about all of the above. Further, the agency in question is facing a lot of retention, job satisfaction and other similar issues that must be identified and analyzed.


The basic landscape of ICE and the ground it covers, both politically and in reality, is pretty broad. ICE is charged with controlling the borders, enforcing the laws relating to entering the country legally, enforcing the laws about staying longer than is authorized by a visa and raids on businesses when it comes to all of the above. For example, if a restaurant is raided due to having undocumented migrants working in the kitchen, it is usually ICE that would be the ones doing the raid. The basic premise behind ICE and the laws that they are generally enforcing is that people who are not citizens of the United States can only be here with the knowledge and permission of the United States government and they must leave the country when their period of authorized presence has expired. While that sounds simple enough, it is actually a lot more complicated than that. When it comes to land-based borders, the United States has two neighbors. Those two countries are Canada and Mexico. Canada is actually in pretty good shape financially and socially. When Canadians come to visit the United States, it can be work, pleasure or both. However, there is little controversy or quibbling about their presence as they are typically here legally and they typically go home when they are required to go home. However, Mexico is a different story. To be honest, one could expand the conversation about the southern border to include Central America and even perhaps South America, to a lesser extent. Much of the countries and areas of Central and South America, albeit with some notable exceptions, are hotbeds of drug cartels, crime and corruption. Pollution is commonly out of control, graft and bribery is often the same way and unemployment rates are typically rather high. This leads many people in Mexico and other countries south of the United States to try and get into the United States any which way they can so as to gain employment (legal or not) and get money for themselves or their families (Morris, 2013).

Due to the fairly porous nature of the United States border, these illegal immigrants are typically able to cross into the United States fairly easily and in a repeated fashion. Even people that have felon status and that are expunged from the country multiple times are somehow able to keep coming back over and over again. Indeed, most of the people that are coming across are honest and decent people. They are unable to make a decent living in their home country so they come to the United States to try and find a better...


While it may be easy to say that the rule of law should hold true and that anyone coming across the border illegally or staying past their allowed time should be deported, it is not remotely that simple. One major reason for this is that ICE does not have the manpower or resources to deport the twelve million or so undocumented migrants that are projected to currently be in the United States. Second, while Mexico is not on part with what Cuba used to be or what North Korea or Iran is now, it and countries like it are quite rough for the people when they live there. Further, a lot of the undocumented migrants who have made it here and that have been here for some time either already have family here or they create ones upon their arrival. Even if the latter is deemed as controversial and perhaps deemed as a wedge to stay in the United States despite lack of legal status, there is an optics problems when it comes to breaking up families because a father is being deported and a son or daughter is left behind (Stevenson, 2013).

In a nutshell, the United States has continually allowed the border to be porous, they have continually granted automatic citizenship status for those that are born here even if the parents of the child are not present legally in the United States and the people that are coming here are absolutely coming here due to horrible conditions such as rampant poverty, lack of proper infrastructure, gang/drug cartel violence and so on. Further, the root cause of the problem is not the making of the United States government or can the United States government really do anything about the fact that the governments and societies of Mexico and similar countries are so poorly managed. Perhaps all of this is why there is a clear disconnect between what the laws of the land happen to say and what ICE is actually doing. One sterling example of this would be the government reaction to the recent border surge that occurred along the Mexican border whereby thousands of immigrants came across the border. Many of those that came across were sent to residential camps while some others were released. Quite recently, one of the camps was ruled as having deplorable conditions and that it was not acceptable for the people to be housed there. However, the chances that those people will be deported is quite small because the overall number of deporting of these and other illegal immigrants has been quite low. This is despite the fact that four out of five of the immigrants who have come recently did not attend immigration-related hearings as they were supposed to, assuming the hearings are not delayed (Barrett, 2015).

On top of all of the above, efforts to crack down on immigration and the security of the border have been met with a number of catcalls about the civil rights of the undocumented migrants, the breaking up of families, the living conditions that they exist in while they are in the United States, the talk of "bring us your huddled" masses in American lore and so forth. Essentially, there is a dichotomous paradigm where some people are catering to or even pandering to those that cross illegal while others want it brought to a halt. ICE is caught in the middle as what the law says is not really what is being enforced and there is also a lot of question as to what the laws should be and how they should indeed be enforced when they are written. Of course, there have been efforts to pass legislation in recent years and decades to deal with the mass of undocumented migrants that are here but nothing of substance has happened since the 1980's when Reagan and others granted amnesty to a number of undocumented migrants. However, the fact that the law and what is actually being put into practice in the field for ICE is so different is obviously creating ethical and procedural nightmares for ICE officials. It is true that the ethical question and the talk of social justice should be answered. However, there should also be a match between what is on the books from a law standpoint and what is actually done and that is simply not the case a lot of the time nowadays (Hall & Sutton, 2003).

Explanation of Ethical Issues

When it comes to ethics, there are two basic questions that challenge ICE, how the organization is led and the laws that ostensibly are supposed to underpin what they do and why. The first major issue is that there is indeed a humanitarian concern when it comes to people from Central and South America. It is certainly not on the level of Africa, by any means. However, the amount of poverty, crime and corruption that are tearing apart Mexico and other nearby countries is certainly of large concern and there is only so much that the United…

Sources Used in Documents:


Alexander, J., & Richmond, S.A. (2007). Administrative discretion: Can we move beyond cider house rules? The American Review of Public Administration, 37(1),

51 -- 64. Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.

Barrett, D. (2015, January 29). U.S. Delays Thousands of Immigration Hearings by Nearly 5 Years. Wall Street Journal (Online). p. 1.


Cite this Document:

"Ethics Of Immigration Law" (2015, August 07) Retrieved April 17, 2021, from

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"Ethics Of Immigration Law", 07 August 2015, Accessed.17 April. 2021,

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