More than a dozen ICE agents call to dissolve agency

More than a dozen U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) special agents have signed a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenEx-Trump official: 'No. 1 national security threat I've ever seen' is GOP Left-leaning group to track which companies hire former top Trump aides Rosenstein: Zero tolerance immigration policy 'never should have been proposed or implemented' MORE calling to eliminate ICE and shift its work to another bureau.

At least 19 ICE investigators signed the letter to Nielsen, saying they were concerned that the Trump administration’s crackdown on immigration was preventing them from carrying out the agency’s other duties.

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Investigators “have been perceived as targeting undocumented aliens, instead of the transnational criminal organizations that facilitate cross border crimes impacting our communities and national security,” the letter states.

The agents who signed the letter are members of Homeland Security Investigations, a section of ICE. Agents in the division work on crimes like drug trafficking, cyber crimes and human smuggling, according to The New York Times.

The agents suggested that Nielsen create a second bureau just for their investigations and another for immigration detentions and deportations. 

The Texas Observer first reported on the letter.

The Hill has reached out to ICE for comment.

Calls to dissolve ICE have recently grown more popular among Democratic lawmakers in light of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy at the border.

Rep. Mark PocanMark William PocanOvernight Defense: 6B Pentagon spending bill advances | Navy secretary nominee glides through hearing | Obstacles mount in Capitol security funding fight House panel advances 6B Pentagon bill on party-line vote Democratic tensions simmer in House between left, center MORE (D-Wis.) last week introduced a bill to eliminate the agency.

The Trump administration faced widespread criticism for its practice of separating immigrant children from their families at the border, which Trump ended with an executive order last week.

Immigrant families will now be detained together under the zero tolerance policy, which requires that all adults caught illegally crossing the border face prosecution.

Updated at 10:25 p.m.