It was in vogue in past years for Republicans to call for the elimination of the IRS, a ridiculous and demagogic call. Now Democrats appear to have their own demagogic rallying cry in suggesting the elimination of ICE. Various Democrats went to the airways in the last week to suggest that the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement should be abolished, including Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) who wrote in a Medium pos that ICE had to be abolished “to protect our families.” Sen. Kamala Harris (D. Cal.) also said that the elimination of ICE might have to be occur to protect innocent people. New York Democratic candidate and former “Sex in the City” star Cynthia Nixon went as far to call ICE a “terrorist organization” and demanded its abolishment.
Blumenauer declared “We should abolish ICE and start over, focusing on our priorities to protect our families and our borders in a humane and thoughtful fashion.”
Sen. Kamala Harris suggested that we might have to “start from scratch” by eliminating the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency:
“There’s no question that we’ve got to critically reexamine ICE and its role, and the way that it is being administered, and the work it is doing. And we need to probably think about starting from scratch.”
For her part, Cynthia Nixon stated
“ICE has strayed so far away from its mission. It is supposed to be here to keep Americans safe but what it has turned into, frankly, is a terrorist organization of its own that is terrorizing people who are coming to this country.” She also stated “I think we need to abolish ICE. That seems really clear. They have strayed so far from the interests of the American people and the interests of humanity.”
We have seen the gradual erosion of both civility and substance on both sides of this debate. These leading Democrats are fully aware that the elimination of ICE would be absurd but there is a race to position themselves in the most extreme possible position on the subject. This does not bode well for the Democrats in 2020. Trump clearly believes that immigration is the ultimate wedge issue for voters and polls would seem to support that view. What may play well in the primaries could give Trump a significant advantage in the general election with independent and moderate voters.