As Trump Derangement Syndrome drives the increasingly bold radical wing of the Democratic Party to flex its muscles, a proposal to abolish the U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement agency is well on its way to becoming part of the Democratic Party’s platform.
This leftist temper tantrum isn’t just a rejection of ICE – it is a wholesale repudiation of borders and immigration laws, that is, of the idea of the United States as a sovereign nation. It is beyond crazy.
Matt Schlapp of the American Conservative Union summed things up nicely on Fox News Channel yesterday:
I think it would be great if the Democrats would run on this. I think it’s honest. I have to give them credit for being honest. They believe in sanctuary cities. They don’t want to fix the immigration system. They want to give amnesty to absolutely everybody who’s here illegally.
The Democrats’ latest big, boneheaded idea is pure suicidal ideation: there are no administrative niceties in the current proposal. Left-wingers want to drive a stake through the heart of ICE, without concern for the future. They don’t care how many Kate Steinles get murdered in the future by illegal aliens. There is almost no discussion about replacing ICE, or for that matter, of enforcing immigration law at all.
While there may be plenty of Americans, even Republicans, generally sympathetic to the plight of illegal aliens, the wholesale destruction of the nation’s immigration enforcement apparatus won’t play in Peoria. Americans don’t want to erase the nation’s borders and turn the country into a sprawling, anarchic neutral zone between Canada and Mexico where anything goes.
Yet the idea of flattening ICE has gone viral on the Left in recent days after an MSNBC host asked Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), a former attorney general of the newly designated sanctuary state of California, for her thoughts on ICE.
“ICE has a purpose, ICE has a role, ICE should exist,” said the future presidential candidate. “But let’s not abuse the power.”
This perfectly respectable answer turned Harris into a leper among her own people almost immediately, despite her checking two important identity-politics boxes – being female and not being white. Journalists and activists cited her comment as proof that Harris was an unprincipled sellout. The backlash was similar but not quite as intense as what former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) experienced after he made the mistake of saying “all lives matter” – instead of the racist phrase “black lives matter” – in the fever swamps of Netroots Nation 2015.
“Kamala Harris is very likely running for president in 2020,” wrote Jack Mirkinson of the radical website Splinter. “It should be a political problem for her that she is not willing to take her criticisms of ICE to their logical conclusion and call for its abolition.”
Mirkinson suggested leftists should hound her and force her to recant. “She should be asked, over and over again, why exactly she is willing to uphold the legitimacy of such a racist, corrupt, and thuggish organization.”
Except ICE isn’t particularly known for abuses. As a major law enforcement agency, ICE isn’t exactly a hotbed of police brutality. The agency, while far from perfect, enjoys a better reputation than, say, the police departments of big, Democrat-controlled cities like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Boston, to name just a few.
There is also no evidence ICE is racist. The Left only says that because most illegal aliens are Latinos and, according to self-serving disparate impact-style thinking, that means the system must be biased against Latinos. The same kind of muddled thinking is behind the equally nonsensical claim that tax cuts are somehow racist.
Nor is there proof that ICE is thuggish. The Left only says that because they are opposed to all immigration enforcement, so any kind of physical coercion however slight, used in immigration enforcement is deemed thuggish.
The idea of gelding ICE is gaining support among illegal alien groups concerned about President Trump’s interest in ramping up deportations.
“Responsible policymakers need to be honest about the fact that the core of the agency is broken,” whined Mary Small, policy director at Detention Watch Network.
Small’s group launched a #DefundHate campaign last year with the goal of defunding ICE.
In recent days an anti-ICE #DefundHate campaign has been taking place on Twitter.
At least seven of the groups participating in the Twitter campaign are funded by George Soros-endowed mega-philanthropies. Those groups are: Move.On.org; National Immigration Law Center; Mi Familia Vota; United We Dream; Human Rights Campaign; PICO National Network; and UnidosUS (which until last year was called National Council of La Raza).
“Congress, it is time to stand up against Trump’s vile vision of America[,]” National Immigration Law Center tweeted. “#DefundHate and demand the #DreamActNow.”
ICE is a “rogue agency” that goes to great lengths to “cause pain to our community,” that “racially profiles immigrants,” “criminalizes families,” and is “ripping families apart,” according to the Left’s propaganda. A young man who wanted to go to college but was detained by ICE was supposedly being “robbed of his education.”
At the heart of this hysteria is the flawed assumption that deportation is punishment. It is not. It is simply an administrative procedure that is used when an individual is present in the country without permission. The Supreme Court has held since Fong Yue Ting v. United States that removal from the country isn’t punitive in nature.
The high court found in the 1893 ruling:
[Deportation] is simply the ascertainment, by appropriate and lawful means, of the fact whether the conditions exist upon which Congress has enacted that an alien of this class may remain within the country. The order of deportation is not a punishment for crime. … It is but a method of enforcing the return to his own country of an alien who has not complied with the conditions … which the Government of the nation … has determined that his continuing to reside here shall depend.
Meanwhile, on March 7, 350 groups sent a letter to congressional leaders urging them to cripple ICE.
The White House request inflates last year’s bloated immigration and border enforcement budget to a grand total of $21.5 billion which is more than the United States spends on all other law enforcement agencies combined. We urge you to significantly reduce funding for immigration enforcement and detention in the FY2018 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Justice (DOJ) appropriations bills.
Indivisible Project, Center for Popular Democracy, and Brand New Congress, a political action committee, want ICE defunded.
“ICE is terrorizing American communities right now,” screeched Angel Padilla, Indivisible’s policy director. “They’re going into schools, entering hospitals, conducting massive raids, and separating children from parents every day. We are funding those activities, and we need to use all the leverage we have to stop it.”
Few reporters anywhere in the country seem able to report on the issue fairly or without exposing their own Trump-derangement.
According to the lunatic ramblings of Sean McElwee at the Nation, ICE is Hitler or the KKK or something:
The call to abolish ICE is, above all, a demand for the Democratic Party to begin seriously resisting an unbridled white-supremacist surveillance state that it had a hand in creating. … it’s time for progressives to put forward a demand that deportation be taken not as the norm but rather as a disturbing indicator of authoritarianism.
White supremacy can no longer be the center of the immigration debate. … Next to death, being stripped from your home, family, and community is the worst fate that can be inflicted on a human, as many societies practicing banishment have recognized. It’s time to rein in the greatest threat we face: an unaccountable strike force executing a campaign of ethnic cleansing.
Shikha Dalmia offered the clueless utopian libertarian position at Reason. “If there was ever an evil agency other than the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration), it is surely ICE.”
ICE’s “central task is to hunt down and deport peaceful and hard working people whose main ‘crime’ is that they can’t get the right papers from federal authorities,” she wrote, neglecting to mention how it is that all these model would-be citizens came to be deportable illegal aliens.
ICE doesn’t deserve its powers and “deserves to be scrapped,” wrote Ryan Cooper at The Week. “There is simply no need to have an agency whose major task is rounding up and deporting otherwise law-abiding immigrants.”
The delusional Cooper kookily emotes:
Thus we see the violent, evil reality behind the “tough on crime” mask of reactionaries like President Trump. Creating zones of lawlessness is how you get gangs. But Trump and his cops are much more concerned with ethnic cleansing than with actually reducing crime — and that’s if they aren’t committing crimes themselves.
This is some pretty crazy, Orwellian stuff. According to Cooper, enforcing the law creates “lawlessness,” which breeds criminal gangs. Enforcing the law is also racist and perhaps genocidal, he wrote.
At the Miami New Times, Jerry Iannelli attributed rising ICE arrests to “Trump’s daily, ugly xenophobia,” which has put a spotlight “on the nation’s horrific deportation machine.” The illegal aliens he claims are victimized by ICE and its sister agency, Customs and Border Protection (CBP), are “people living their lives in America, trying to watch episodes of Planet Earth on Netflix, and buying diapers at Costco.”
After presenting the demonstrable falsehood that “[m]ainstream American political thought long celebrated the United States as a multicultural nation,” left-winger Matt Ford at the New Republic went a step further than most ICE-haters, calling for the abolition of the entire Department of Homeland Security, the parent agency of ICE.
This cockamamie idea of abolishing ICE appears to be the brainchild of Democrat spin doctor Brian Fallon, who was a spokesman for the nearly-impeached attorney general, Eric Holder. “ICE operates as an unaccountable deportation force,” Fallon tweeted Jan. 21. “Dems running in 2020 should campaign on ending the agency in its current form.”
Of course, that ICE isn’t accountable is just another dishonest left-wing talking point. ICE is under the control of the elected president and his appointees, and has to go through the appropriations process every year, just like all the other agencies in the federal government. If lawmakers were displeased by its performance, they could cut off its funding. If the president found wrongdoing, he could fire people or change the policies of ICE. And ICE officials are not above the law: they get dragged through the criminal courts when they break the law.
Several Democrat candidates have already endorsed defunding ICE. In New York,
Jessica Ramos, who is seeking a state senate seat, Suraj Patel who is running in the state’s 12th congressional district, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who is running in the 14th congressional district, are among them. Also supporting the proposal are state lawmaker Kaniela Ing, who is running in Hawaii’s 1st congressional district, and Abdul El-Sayed, who is running for the post of Michigan’s governor.
The list of would-be ICE-defunders is bound to get longer – and soon.
This article by Matthew Vadum first appeared March 14, 2018, at FrontPageMag.