"Abolish ICE" is a massive political mistake

tags: immigration, Trump, ICE, Abolish ICE

Julian Zelizer is a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University and a New America fellow.

Democrats are making a massive political mistake by calling for the end of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). 

On a Saturday when Americans across the country took to the streets to protest President Donald Trump's hardline shift on immigration policy, more and more prominent Democrats -- from Sen. Elizabeth Warren to Sen. Kristin Gillibrand -- used their voices to advocate for ending ICE as we know it.

The surprise victory of Democratic congressional nominee Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who highlighted attacks on ICE during her campaign against incumbent New York Democrat Joe Crowley, has given further momentum to this position.

ICE was created as part of the reorganization of homeland security after 9/11. Before the horrendous attack on our soil, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, established in 1933, oversaw immigration on the border and within the country. Under the Department of Homeland Security, which was created by President George W. Bush, the immigration bureaucracy was divided up into three parts. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services handled the naturalization and immigration process, Customs and Border Protection was responsible for monitoring the border, while ICE was given authority to deal with enforcing the laws inside the country.

Some Democrats may be hoping that turning ICE into the focus of the immigration debate will serve the same kind of purpose that attacking the Internal Revenue Service or the Department of Education once offered Republicans -- a symbol of what has gone wrong in American politics and a way to capture, in a short phrase, what the opposition hopes to do.

While focusing on ICE is an extremely important debate, and dismantling the agency might the be the best policy decision, it carries enormous short-term political risks for the Democrats going into the midterm elections. ...

Read entire article at CNN

comments powered by Disqus