Should the US “abolish” ICE, as many of those on the left are now advocating? Most news outlets have been bombarding us with negative stories about ICE, characterizing their operation as “heavy-handed” and “excessive” and even comparing the detention centers to “concentration camps.” Much of the criticism has such a shrill and extreme tone that it is bordering on the irrational. Based on the foregoing, one would think that there is a huge groundswell in the country to abolish ICE.
In point of fact, this is another example of what many Trump supporters have been calling “fake news.” (For example, do you recall the news video footage of the children in cells, which were later shown to be from 2014 and the Time cover of Mr. Trump towering over a little crying child, which was also later shown to have been fabricated?) In fact, a recent Rasmussen poll has disclosed broad support for ICE. For example, only 25% of respondents were in favor of abolishing it. Even among liberals, Democrats, and AAs the numbers were only 45%, 36%, and 22%, respectively.
- Critics have been focusing on the separation of parents from their children. Actually, according to the NY Times that is the responsibility of the Customs and Border Protection Agency, not ICE.
- The CBP is following the law, which is well settled. It was passed by Congress decades ago and has since been validated by the courts. Some administrations have chosen to ignore or loosely enforce this law, but Mr. Trump has chosen to enforce it with “zero tolerance” as he pledged to do during the 2016 campaign. His strong stance on illegal immigration was one of the major reasons why he was elected. As we know, “elections have consequences.”
- The accompanying adults are not always the actual parents anyway. Often, they are “coyotes,” hired to guide the illegals. Many of them are pedophiles, gang members, or other unsavory characters. In those cases, the parents have chosen to stay behind for whatever reason, so it is they who have separated themselves from their kids, not ICE.
- The separation is only temporary until officials can determine the status of the children and the accompanying adults. This can be time-consuming, particularly given the high volume of cases.
- The current system has its drawbacks, but I believe it is an improvement over Obama’s policy of “catch and release,” which was an abysmal failure. The illegals simply disappeared into the general populace. Very few bothered to appear for their hearing.
- The side issue that critics carefully ignore is that many US children are separated from their parents every day, such as when innocents, like Kate Steinle, are murdered and when parents are incarcerated or judged to be “unfit.” Where is the outcry in those cases?
Most of ICE’s critics have no conception of its responsibilities other than that it arrests, detains and deports immigrants who have managed to enter the US illegally. It has many other diverse responsibilities, including investigating crimes such as smuggling drugs, weapons, and military equipment, human trafficking, cyber crimes, financial crimes and identity theft. In addition, its legal arm represents the government in immigration matters.
Moreover, people forget that ICE was authorized by Congress under the Homeland Security Act of 2002 following the 9/11 terror attacks. The Act combined various diverse border and revenue enforcement agencies and placed all of them within the Department of Homeland Security. Presently, ICE has some 20,000 employees that operate in about 400 offices throughout the US and 46 foreign venues. It is a sizeable operation and remains vital to our national security. Terror threats are still with us and, perhaps, always will be, so it would be ill-advised to let our guard down now.
Nobody is advocating harming children. Most everyone realizes the current arrangement is imperfect. It is merely the best we can do under the present circumstances, presuming we want to enforce the current law and protect our borders. Anyone who suggests otherwise is being disingenuous and irresponsible. As Mr. Trump keeps saying, it is up to Congress to improve the law.
Also, as I have said many times, any comparison to Nazis or concentration camps is ridiculous, dangerous and does a disservice to the real Holocaust victims and their families. It is clear that certain people desperately need a history lesson.
The extreme rhetoric of the far left has put the Democratic Party on the wrong side of the immigration issue, politically. Below please find a few samples:
- NY Senator Kirsten Gillibrand characterized ICE as a “deportation force” and advocated that it be abolished. I submit that she has not the foggiest conception of what ICE does and why it is necessary.
- Not to be outdone, MA Senator Elizabeth Warren called President Trump’s immigration policies “deeply immoral.”
- Nancy Pelosi has spoken out in defense of the rights of MS-13 gang members, saying “they are people too.” Does she really want to be portrayed as a supporter of MS-13? Does she even realize they don’t just terrorize and murder; they hack their victims to pieces with machetes?
- Chuck Schumer has declined to support any compromise immigration bill, because he will not help Mr. Trump “clean up his own mess.” Nice.
- The Hill reported that WI Representative Mark Pocan (who?) opined that ICE is “tearing apart families and ripping the moral fabric of our nation” and referred to President Trump and his supporters as a “team of white nationalists.” Talk about hyperbole! Furthermore, Pocan has actually introduced a bill to abolish ICE.
- Finally, let’s not forget the demonstration at the Statue of Liberty on July 4. Many people had their holiday plans ruined, and some law enforcement personnel were distracted from their anti-terrorist responsibilities. I’m sure that won over a multitude of supporters to the anti-ICE cause.
I could go on, but I think you get the idea.
Where are the moderate Dems? I’m sure there must still be some, but they are laying low. They cannot be happy. The extreme rhetoric from the far left on this and other issues is forcing the Dem Party well out of the mainstream, and it does not augur well for the 2018 and 2020 elections. They need to speak out, but I hope they don’t.