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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Extreme Makeover: Immigration Enforcement Edition

Immigration and Customs Enforcement -- what all the cool kids call "ICE" -- is restructuring its divisions, and the Washington Post says it's partly a "rebranding" effort. When you hear about ICE, the news is almost always about immigration enforcement, but agency officials say that overlooks all of the other work they do, including counter-terrorism and investigations into money laundering.

To burnish the agency's image, ICE officials are considering a strategy that has helped the FBI for years: the aid of Hollywood and other venues of popular culture. Timothy Calkins, a marketing professor at Northwestern University, said such efforts could be squandered if internal problems aren't addressed. 

Immigrant advocates say that ICE has real problems that need to be fixed:

The agency is hounded, too, by reports of poor treatment of noncitizens in ICE custody and allegations that the agency's rigid policies break up immigrant families. The agency has faced criticism over medical care for detainees, hiding the truth about deaths in detention and setting quotas for deportations.

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