Left-wing activists are pushing Democratic Party legislators to defund and block the deportation programs at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The left’s demands are rising as top officials at President Donald Trump’s Department of Homeland Security gradually revive federal enforcement of the popular immigration laws, and improve barriers to the inflow of foreign workers. The enforcement is helping force up blue-collar and white-collar wages because companies cannot easily import workplace-replacements from outside the United States.
But a coalition of 350 pro-amnesty and pro-immigration groups is asking Democratic Senators to chop funding for DHS in the pending 2018 omnibus funding bill, which is due for completion March 23:
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…
President Trump and his appointees have eliminated all prioritization and discretion from the system. There is no room for consideration of a person’s equities, including length of time living in the U.S., ties to their communities, or U.S. citizen children … DHS is undermining due process and regularly deporting people who should be receiving protection under U.S. laws. By unleashing this force with inadequate limitations, the Administration has fostered an unprecedented attack on immigrant communities which threatens our education system, our local businesses, and our nation’s values.
Congress must demonstrate its power of the purse and refuse to reward an agency replete with chronic fiscal mismanagement, inadequate oversight and a penchant for covering up serious allegations of misconduct … In light of these concerns, Congress should move to decrease ICE’s funding, not bail them out.
A 2013 poll by Gallup showed that at least 138 million people worldwide want to migrate to the United States, partly to escape terrible conditions in their home countries, partly to help their children and families, and partly to get decent jobs.
Without ICE to deter such mass migrations, the huge inflow would aid investors and real-estate owners dropping American wage levels and driving up real-estate prices.
The left-wing Nation magazine is also drumming up support for ending ICE operations. It cited several activists and Democratic politicians who promise to shut down ICE:
Suraj Patel, a child of immigrants, is running a well-funded insurgent campaign against Democratic incumbent Representative Carolyn Maloney in New York’s 12th Congressional District. He would vote to defund ICE if he makes it to Congress. “ICE has crossed a red line under this president by harassing, pursuing, and terrorizing immigrants and activists all over this country with impunity. These mass deportations are forcing immigrants to live in fear, while making the rest of us less safe,” he said …
Abdul El-Sayed, a gubernatorial candidate in Michigan, told me that he “will not waste a dime of state taxpayer money to enforce laws that would tear apart families—and tear apart our economy.”
Jessica Ramos, who is running for a New York State Senate seat in Queens, has also endorsed defunding ICE.
.@realDonaldTrump has turned ICE into his deportation squad, terrorizing hard working families and making us less, not more safe. Congress needs to defund ICE until it stops acting with impunity. https://t.co/sGG9KLsXHf
— Suraj Patel (@surajpatelnyc) February 22, 2018
When they say defund Planned Parenthood (and destroy millions of lives), we say defund ICE (and save millions of lives).
— Kaniela Ing (@KanielaIng) February 2, 2018
The push comes from the Democratic Party’s pro-immigration, open-border wing, which views enforcement as racist — and therefore illegitimate and illegal — because most of the migrants who are deported are non-white. According to the Nation:
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. Though the party has moved left on core issues from reproductive rights to single-payer health care, 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. Democrats have voted to fully fund ICE with limited fanfare, because in the American immigration discussion, the right-wing position is the center and the left has no voice. There has been disturbing word fatigue around “mass deportation,” and the threat of deportation is so often taken lightly that many have lost the ability to conceptualize what it means. 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.
This is a growing position on the left, and I imagine 2020 Democratic presidential aspirants will have to grapple with it https://t.co/GOuoLnBHWG
— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) March 9, 2018
So far, Democratic leaders have kept their distance from the extremely unpopular demands — but likely will try to cut ICE’s funding and authority behind closed doors. They may also be aided by business-first Republicans who do not want to their donors’ illegal-immigrant workers get sent home.
For example, California Democrat Sen. Kamala Harris told MSNBC that people who commit “serious and violent crimes” should be deported — implying that illegals who commit lesser crimes should be allowed to stay in the United States.
— Brett Banditelli (@banditelli) March 9, 2018
Some less hot-headed Democratic activists want to follow former President Barack Obama’s tactic of slowly stigmatizing ICE operations and gradually reducing repatriations:
Sorry but the idea of abolishing ICE would kill any potential candidate's chances to win an election. Think in terms of framing the issue. Say: "ICE's role should not be as a modern version of the Nazi SS." Repeat ad infinitum.
— Rob Honeycutt (@robhon_) March 9, 2018
Immigration polls which ask people to pick a priority, or to decide which options are fair, show that voters in the polling booth put a high priority on helping their families and fellow nationals get decent jobs in a high-tech, high-immigration, low-wage economy.
Those results are very different from the “Nation of Immigrants” polls which are funded by CEOs and progressives, and which pressure Americans to say they welcome migrants.