The man charged with Edwin Jackson’s death pleaded guilty this month.
You may recall the story of Jackson, a rising, 26-year-old linebacker for the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts, who was killed along with an Uber driver on Super Bowl Sunday this year by a drunk driver. The driver, Manuel Orrego-Savala, came here illegally from Guatemala and was deported twice for offenses that included driving under the influence.
When his car allegedly struck Jackson and his driver on the side of the road, Orrego-Savala’s blood-alcohol level was nearly three times the legal limit. He fled the scene and gave a fake name to police when he was later apprehended. Jackson’s death raises serious questions about how deported criminal aliens are allowed to return and remain in the country. Law enforcement, however, did its job in this case. Orrego-Savala was twice apprehended and deported.
Now imagine a steady stream of Orrego-Savalas coming to live in your community with no one pursuing them. One can only imagine the spike in crimes committed and the lives lost as a result. Yet that is the only possible outcome if supporters of the surreal movement to abolish U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) achieved their goal.
In a less politically charged time, such a call would be dismissed as the fantasy of naïve young idealists. It is akin to the campus radicals of the 1960s occupying the dean’s office and demanding world peace. Today, abolishing ICE has become the cause celebre on the left, with champions in high places who should know better.
The icon of the movement is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the Democratic nominee to represent New York’s 14th Congressional District. With her telegenic smile and boundless enthusiasm, the self-proclaimed democratic socialist has become a media darling.
In a recent series of interviews, however, she has displayed a stunning degree of ignorance on immigration issues. While advocating for the abolishment of ICE, Ocasio-Cortez, 28, suggested that ICE’s “extra-judicial nature” allows it to “get away with black sites at our border with the separation of children.” Even friendly interviewers felt compelled to mention that ICE has absolutely nothing to do with the detention of illegal aliens on the border. Customs and Border Protection processes border arrivals, and alien children are detained at facilities managed by the Department of Health and Human Services. She wants to abolish an agency and doesn’t even know what it does.
As a replacement for ICE, she called for a “humane agency that is directed toward safe passage instead of the direction of the criminalization.” In other words, an agency directed to process as many migrants through the border as possible, regardless of their criminal records or the legitimacy of their claims for asylum. Any crimes they commit in the United States would presumably be met with leniency. This is not a serious proposal, but a recipe for societal destruction.
Ocasio-Cortez is far from alone in this quixotic pursuit. Longtime U.S. senators have vowed to disband the agency if given the chance, and the foot soldiers on the ground have gotten the message. The entertainment industry has likened ICE agents to Nazis and ISIS terrorists. Activists have occupied areas outside ICE field offices to halt operations. Those assisting ICE agents in any way — including serving them lunch — have been harassed.
What has ICE done to incite all this hatred? A recent operation conducted through the Washington, D.C., office caught 132 criminal aliens wanted for violent crimes, sexual offenses and activity in the murderous MS-13 gang, among others. According to their national database, ICE in 2017 arrested 105,736 criminal aliens wanted for crimes including DUI, homicide, weapons offenses, and kidnapping. They issued detainers to hold 142,356 aliens under arrest by local police. Of those requests, 8,170 were denied by local law enforcement, a result of sanctuary policies. Of those in ICE custody last year, 67,859 were removed from the U.S. interior.
This is not, as some would suggest, the work of jack-booted thugs cruelly arresting people on the basis of anti-immigrant discrimination. It is law enforcement professionals enforcing the laws of the country, laws designed to promote peace and prosperity. It is protecting American citizens from violent crime. Those emigrating here legally are entitled to the same protections. The forces calling for the abolishment of ICE do so out of political opportunism and demonstrate colossal irresponsibility. This idea should be dead on arrival.
Brian Lonergan is director of communications at the Immigration Reform Law Institute, a public interest law firm working to defend the rights and interests of the American people from the negative effects of illegal migration.