Kobach: The Mask Comes Off the Open Borders Movement

A left-wing protester calling for abolishing ICE and opening up the United States border to illegal aliens. (Credit: Matt Perdie/Breitbart News)
Matt Perdie/Breitbart News

Over the past weekend, open borders activists held rallies around the country to protest the enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws and call for the end of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Protesters carried signs saying “abolish ICE.”

Quick to ride this wave of left-wing fervor, a bevy of Democratic politicians joined the call. New York’s U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said of ICE, “[Y]ou should get rid of it. Start over.” But it sounds as if whatever she would replace it with would only focus on criminal justice issues, and would not be “a deportation force.”

Cynthia Nixon, actress and Democratic candidate for governor of New York declared, “I think we need to abolish ICE,” calling it a “terrorist organization.” And these Democrats really mean it. Democratic Congressman Mark Pocan of Wisconsin announced that he would be introducing a bill in Congress to abolish ICE.

Even Bernie Sanders is now being criticized for not being far enough to the left. His statements that ICE should be reformed, rather than completely abolished, are not good enough for the Democrat vanguard.

For many years, we who have fought for stronger enforcement of our immigration laws have criticized the so-called “open borders movement.” The expression was a useful shorthand phrase to describe those who favor a lax-enforcement, pro-amnesty position. It was an exaggeration to make a point. Now we find out that it wasn’t an exaggeration at all. They really do want open borders.

Without ICE enforcing our immigration laws and deporting illegal aliens, the rule of law collapses entirely. Abolishing ICE would send a loud and clear invitation to the world: come on in. You won’t be deported. We don’t care whether you have anything to contribute to the United States. Nor do we care how much risk you pose to our citizens’ safety or their job security. Nor do we mind providing costly public benefits to you, courtesy of the American taxpayer.

Many of these Democrats calling for the abolition of ICE don’t realize just how crazy they sound. And they apparently have no idea that the vast majority of Americans would like the United States to remain a sovereign nation that has the power to decide who is, and who is not, permitted to enter the country.

There was a similar moment in 2006 when the open borders movement let its guard down and gave us a glimpse of what they really are all about. Hundreds of thousands of protesters marched in opposition to immigration enforcement in Phoenix, Los Angeles, and Denver, carrying Mexican flags. Protest organizers realized that the Mexican flags were turning off the broader public. So they instructed the protesters to carry American flags.

But we briefly saw what was animating their movement — a disdain for the United States and a preference for another country.

Now too, the open borders movement has taken off the mask. We see what their ultimate objective is — an end to deportations, and an end to immigration enforcement.

It’s not a pretty picture. But at least American voters are getting to see it before they go to the polls this Fall.

Kris W. Kobach is the elected Secretary of State of Kansas. An expert in immigration law and policy, he coauthored the Arizona SB-1070 immigration law and represented in federal court the ten ICE agents who sued to stop Obama’s 2012 DACA executive amnesty. He is currently a candidate for governor in Kansas. His website is kriskobach.com.


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