Officials at Immigration and Customs Enforcement are actively exploring joining the U.S. Intelligence Community, The Daily Beast has learned. The effort is helmed by a small cohort of career Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials, and has been underway since the Obama administration, according to an ICE official familiar with the matter. Internal advocates for joining the America's spy agencies -- known as the Intelligence Community or the IC -- focus on the potential benefits to the agency's work on counterproliferation, money laundering, counterterror, and cybercrime. The official added that joining the IC could also be useful for the agency's immigration enforcement workin particular, their efforts to find and arrest undocumented immigrants with criminal arrest warrants (known in ICE as fugitive aliens).
But civil liberties advocates and government watchdog groups -- as well as some current and former U.S. officials -- are concerned at the prospect of the nation's immigration enforcers joining the ranks of America's spies.
"The idea that ICE could potentially get access to warrantless surveillance is frankly terrifying," Jake Laperruque, senior counsel at the Project on Government Oversight, told The Daily Beast.
"The idea that ICE could potentially get access to warrantless surveillance is frankly terrifying." -- The Project on Government Oversight's Jake Laperruque
Patrick Toomey, an attorney with the ACLU's National Security Project, also expressed concern.
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