Young People Don't Trust ICE And Some Want It Abolished, New Poll Shows

51 percent of people aged 20 to 37 said they do not trust ICE

By Lauren Rearick

Americans don’t trust ICE — especially young Americans.

Based on the results of a new poll from YouGov, which polled American adults on their faith in the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Patrol, ICE, and more, 51 percent of adults aged 20 to 37 said they do not trust the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), while older generations hovered around 40 percent distrust.

As for other government organizations, adults aged 20 to 37 expressed more than 50 percent trust in the FBI, the Census Bureau, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Federal Aviation Administration. Nearly half of adults aged 20 to 37 surveyed trusted the Internal Revenue Service and the Federal Aviation Administration, and only 36 percent said they trusted the Federal Election Commission.

The apparent distrust in some government organizations speaks to a continued trend among Americans — many people just simply don’t trust the government. In an April 2019 Pew Research Center study, only 17 percent of those surveyed said they trusted the American government, and that number has continued to decline since 2001. Since 2007, the percentage of Americans that shared trust in the politicians governing the United States has remained below 30 percent. Some experts have shared the concern that without a basic trust between the American people and their government could potentially “damage every aspect of government.

Although this YouGov survey is only one indicator of some of the nation’s current thoughts on ICE — which, itself is a fairly new agency created in 2003, as a reaction to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks — the results are coming in during a particularly tense time. In early July, President Donald Trump’s administration continued ICE raids targeted at removing undocumented migrants living in the U.S. Since taking office, Trump has received continued criticism for his stance on conducting the raids; House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told the President that “families belong together,” Vox reported, and Senator Kamala Harris said Trump’s actions led to “fear in this country.”

Linley Sanders/YouGov


ICE is only one part of the Trump administration's policies targeted at migrants. As the New York Times explained, ICE is part of the Department of Homeland Security, and its work differs from that of Customs and Border Patrol. ICE does handle removal, but its Homeland Security Investigations department works on cases involving drug and human trafficking, and weapons smuggling and its Office of the Principal Legal Adviser provides legal services to employees.

For its part, Customs and Border Patrol has also been the target of criticism and concern, as Trump had directed the organization to take a “zero tolerance” stance on migrants crossing the border, leading the CBP to separate families and house children in cages. It was only after images emerged of the treatment of migrant children that Trump signed an executive order to halt the policy of separating families. The policy might have ended, but the American Civil Liberties Union reported that 900 children are still waiting to be reunited with parents or guardians.

Some politicians called for the U.S. to abolish ICE, CNN reported, including presidential candidates and Senators Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. According to YouGov, young people feel the same: 27 percent of American adults aged 20 to 37 said they would like to see ICE close, while 20 percent said the same for CBP. Meanwhile, 12 percent of respondents voted for the closure of the Internal Revenue Service (y’know, the people to whom you pay your taxes).

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