Author archives: Emily Weatherholt

ICE: Unsung Heroes or Anti-Immigrant?

by Emily Weatherholt

July 11, 2018

Founded in 2003, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is a subsection of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). ICE was formed as a result of the 2002 Homeland Security Act, which was passed in the wake of the 2001 terrorist attack in an effort to prevent such a tragedy from ever occurring again. Many would argue this policy has been successful, as many subsequent terrorist attacks have been thwarted by DHS, have been smaller in scope, or have been perpetrated by lone-wolf terrorists who were U.S. citizens and not illegal immigrants.

Recently, ICE has come under protest in light of their actions at the U.S. border with Mexico. Under President Trump’s immigration ban, which was recently upheld by the Supreme Court in the case of Trump v. Hawaii, America’s borders are closed to identified countries struggling with social unrest and the rising of terrorist regimes. This ban is not a “Muslim ban,” as many on the Left have called it, but a proactive move by the president to protect America’s borders, while the immigration policy is reworked to ensure American lives are protected. ICE, a government funded agency, is required to follow the executive orders of the president and the ruling of the Supreme Court.

Those who are protesting ICE are berating men and women who have committed to protecting our borders and following the higher decrees of our nation’s leaders at the risk of their own lives. ICE was created not only to enforce border control, but also to prevent human trafficking, smuggling of illegal goods across our border, and to prevent terrorism. Throughout the years, ICE has created alternatives for detention programs, created apps to help prevent child exploitation on the internet and track children that have been abducted by sex trafficking rings, and broken up complex smuggling operations by drug cartels within U.S. borders. In 2017, a group of protestors, assuming ICE was exporting immigrants, demonstrated against ICE while they were arresting a sex-trafficking ring in California.  

The current protest against ICE is based on the separation of families at the Texas-Mexico border. While the media is focusing on the separation of families and the injustice this is causing, the media is neglecting to share the reason for the separation. The separation is due to the president’s enforcement of the “zero-tolerance policy” at the border. This policy requires that those who cross the border illegally are subject to criminal charges. While waiting for prosecution for the criminal charges, the parents are placed in prison, certainly no place for children. That is why the families are separated until the children can be sent to relatives or shelters. It’s important to note that family separation occurred under the Obama presidency as well, a fact often ignored by the mainstream media. The practice of separating children from incarcerated parents is common procedure in American law. If a minor’s parents are sent to prison for a criminal offense, then the minor is placed with a relative or in the foster care system. There are also cases when human trafficking rings will pose as families to get the children across the border. In addition, drug rings use children to smuggle drugs over the border because they are less likely to be detained. This is what is happening at the border, but it’s certainly not the story that is being told. The same practice was occurring under previous presidencies, but to a lesser extent, as the president has the right to choose which laws he strictly enforces.

At the border, ICE is responding to possible drug smuggling, human trafficking, and other criminal offenses. ICE is following the laws enforced by the president and the Supreme Court of the U.S. ICE already has an extremely difficult job—the protests of the people whom ICE agents swore to protect are needlessly making their jobs more difficult. Those who are protesting ICE need to realize that when proactive actions are taken, it is hard to measure their success, as the wreckage from the adverted disaster is never felt. 

The Forgotten Impact of State Authorities

by Emily Weatherholt

June 27, 2018

Later this year, gubernatorial elections will occur across the country, in which individuals have the opportunity to shape the future of their states in both the governor and lieutenant governor positions. However, statistics show that turnout for these elections drops by over 30 percent when compared with voter turnout during presidential elections. While Kentucky, California, New York, and many other states are also experiencing voter percentages dropping for local elections, let’s focus on Virginia’s statistics. Virginia’s Department of Elections Board reports that in 2016, 72 percent of registered voters turned out to the polls to vote in the presidential election. However, the years both before and after the election year show diminishing results. In 2015, only 21 percent of registered voters participated in local elections, and in 2017, only 47.6 percent of registered voters participated in local elections.

These statistics show the emphasis that has been placed on presidential elections over state elections. As the federal government has become involved in more and more aspects of our lives, the influence of the state is being forgotten. The millennial generation, which is known for wanting to make a positive impact, composes a large majority of the current voting population that is not participating in state elections. While change on a federal level may have the most widespread results, voters today are forgetting the tremendous opportunity they have by being able to influence their own state legislation.

In the case of the upcoming state governor elections, voters have the chance to influence the path their state will follow for the next four years. Each state government is modeled after the workings of the federal government. The state governor has the authority, in a majority of states, to appoint the state judiciary, to control the executive budget, and to enforce a legislative veto. Over the course of two or four years, many new laws can be enacted and enforced that either strengthen or weaken an individual’s freedom.

An example of this is a state’s ability to pass a Government Nondiscrimination Act, which would ensure religious liberties relating to the biblical definition of marriage are protected. While the case of Obergefell v. Hodges proclaimed the constitutional right to same-sex marriage, the states retain the power to ensure that Christians and other religious people are not forced to affirm this definition of marriage in their lives and businesses. Participation in state elections allows individuals to advocate for their states to protect their rights and avoid being penalized for holding to a biblical definition of marriage.

The Founding Fathers originally determined that state government should have more power than the federal government. If participation and understanding of the importance of state elections were recognized by more of the voting population, decisions such as Roe v. Wade could have been tempered in their influence, for voters would elect politicians seeking to limit the expansiveness of how abortion is practiced. As governor and lieutenant governor elections fast approach, the burden is on the people to shape the future of their state and make a change, as many millennials desire. This can be achieved by contacting local officials and participating in the upcoming governor and lieutenant governor elections.  

Emily Weatherholt is an intern at FRC Action.

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Values Voter Summit 2018 Highlights
by FRCA Media Office (Sept. 21, 2018)

Values Voter Summit 2018 started today. Here are transcripts from select speakers...

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