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ICE Agents And The Power Of Discretion In Immigration Enforcement

President Trump’s executive orders on immigration have brought renewed focus on the role of individual ICE agents. Photo by Groupuscule via Wikimedia Commons

At a sports bar in Randolph, the TV in the corner is tuned to Fox News and there’s a White House press briefing on. Sports dominate every other screen and a steady stream of ’90s pop music plays in the background.

This is where Albert Orlowski and I agreed to meet to talk about his career as an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent in New England.

“Over 25 years in federal law enforcement. Twenty-one in immigration, ICE,” he says.

Just the term “ICE” evokes emotion. Three letters emblazoned on the back of a dark jacket; nondescript white vans — they’re images synonymous with fear among immigrants in the country illegally. ICE agents seek out so-called “targets” and often use the element of surprise. The role is inherently boogeyman-esque.

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