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ICE exploring becoming an intelligence agency

An ICE officer.
Photo: Marlon Correa / The Washington Post via Getty Images

The Daily Beast reports that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials "are actively exploring joining the U.S. Intelligence Community," and have been since the Obama administration.

Why it matters: Such a move would spark resistance from civil liberties and immigrant advocate groups because it would involve access to surveillance tools among other things. But one official told the Daily Beast that joining the Intelligence Community (IC) could "be useful for the agency's immigration enforcement work — in particular, their efforts to find and arrest undocumented immigrants with criminal arrest warrants."

  • ICE general counsel under the Obama administration, Peter Vincent, told the Beast that ICE officials have wanted to join the IC because they "felt that by doing so, they would have greater prestige and credibility and authority."
  • Per the Daily Beast, if ICE officials used classified material — made available by being a part of the IC — the information they use to "generate leads...could be inadmissible in court."
  • What's next: The request would need to be signed off on by Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, moving it to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and Congress.