Republicans are proposing arming immigration officers with assault rifles and body armor

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
(Image credit: John Moore/Getty Images)

Three Republican bills reviewed in the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday come "straight out of the Donald Trump mass deportation playbook," Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) told his colleagues.

If passed, the bills under consideration "would see immigration violations traditionally treated as civil infractions transformed into criminal violations, punishable by up to 20 years in prison," and strip recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) of protections "because they are in the country while knowingly in violation of the law," The Intercept writes.

Additionally, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers would be equipped with assault rifles, Tasers, and body armor:

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Deportation officers on the ground would inherit new arrest powers under the proposed legislation, including the power to arrest immigrants accused of criminal or civil offenses without a warrant, even if the agency determines those individuals are not "likely to escape before a warrant can be obtained." Under the bill, those deportation officers would be heavily armed, with each officer issued "high-quality body armor" and "at a minimum, standard-issue handguns, M–4 (or equivalent) rifles, and Tasers." [The Intercept]

The bills could "turn millions of Americans into criminals overnight," Nadler protested to the committee members. Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) defended the bills, which are in line with President Trump's campaign promises, saying they "decisively [deliver] the immigration enforcement tools that ICE, its officers, and all of us need in order to show the obstructionists, the criminal aliens, and all those who benefit from a culture of lawlessness that breaking our immigration laws will no longer be tolerated."

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Jeva Lange

Jeva Lange was the executive editor at She formerly served as The Week's deputy editor and culture critic. She is also a contributor to Screen Slate, and her writing has appeared in The New York Daily News, The Awl, Vice, and Gothamist, among other publications. Jeva lives in New York City. Follow her on Twitter.