During a Senate Judiciary Committee, U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) questioned Matthew Albence with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on the importance of the agency to public safety and immigration enforcement. Excerpts of the exchange are below.


SENATOR JOHN CORNYN: So, Mr. Albence, what if we just decided to abolish ICE? What would be the impact on our country in terms of public safety?


EXECUTIVE ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR MATTHEW ALBENCE: The public safety impact would be huge. In addition to the immigration enforcement that we do, which as I mentioned previously, arrested 127,000 individuals with criminal convictions and arrests last year. Our Homeland Security Investigations branch does a significant amount of work, all tremendous work with regard to drugs, narcotics, child predators, cybercrime.


CORNYN: And if ICE was no longer in existence and no longer enforced our laws in the interior of the United States, would the primary victim of that be the minority communities in which many of these people operate?


ALBENCE: These minority communities are the primary victims now, because these individuals are involved in all sorts of gang activity and other criminal activity, and generally they commit those crimes against those in the same communities in which they reside.


Matthew Albence is the Executive Associate Director, Enforcement and Removal Operations for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).


Senator John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, is a member of the Senate Judiciary, Intelligence, and Finance Committees.