Rashida Tlaib: ICE Didn’t Exist Before 9/11 (Fact Check: Mostly False)

Representative. Rashida Tlaib (D, Michigan) addresses the NAACP's (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) 110th National Convention at Cobo Center in Detroit, Michigan on July 22, 2019. (Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY / AFP) (Photo credit should read JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP/Getty Images

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) claimed U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) did not exist before the September 11th, 2001, terror attacks, seemingly forgetting the federal law enforcement agency’s duties existed under a different, now-defunct agency.

“It needs to be completely dismantled. We didn’t have ICE years ago before 9/11, and I can tell you we were fine,” Tlaib said in an interview with the podcast Authentically Detroit released on Tuesday.

In 2003, most of the Immigration and Naturalization Service’s (INS) duties were dissolved and transferred to ICE, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) as part of the newly-formed Department of Homeland Security. Akin to ICE, INS agents also carried out raids against illegal aliens.

“We had Border Patrol. We had all those. I want people to appreciate between that, unpackage that. This is a new agency that came about afterward,” Tlaib continued. “It’s important to know that. This is not the border patrol in the field. This is a different agency that is very, in some cases, rogue.”

Tlaib, the first Palestinian-American woman elected to Congress, ran in the 2018 November election on abolishing ICE. The Michigan Democrat even called for a hunger strike to “shut down” the agency.

“I want you all to shut them down, we can shut them down,” Tlaib told supporters at a Detroit fundraiser in April. “Don’t wait for this Congress to act, shut them down.”

“I know what they’re going to say, they’ll go, ‘What do you mean Rashida?’ Well I’ll tell you. There are some people that are using hunger strike, all these other things, going to the border, and I plan to,” she added.

Tlaib’s fellow far-left “Squad” members have also called for ICE’s abolishment. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) has accused the agency of “repeatedly and systematically” violating human rights and compared immigration detention centers to concentration camps, drawing ire for trivializing the Holocaust.

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