Until now Democrats were long-time supporters of government workers and labor interests. They just finished blasting the Supreme Court for the Janus public sector union decision and Republican anti-union policies will factor hugely into the coming midterm elections. How do federal officers who are also union members factor into the party’s agenda? That question creates a huge conflict for extremist party members who will be forced to pander to unions and illegal immigrants to bring out the November vote.
Federal officers rejected for doing their job
Anti-ICE extremism has so exceeded the bounds of logic and reason that Democratic Party members scorn federal officers who work for the agency and may also belong to a labor union.
When the party had to choose sides between undocumented immigrants and federal law enforcement officers, members in the House and Senate made an exception to their longstanding tradition and decided illegals came first.
No laws, no need for federal officers
Just like many local police officers have a union behind them, the American Federation of Government Employees National ICE Council backs 7,600 members1 who work for the agency. That creates a big predicament for a party that makes getting rid of ICE one of its strongest midterm calls to action:
“I stand behind my original position that we must abolish ICE once and for all and create an agency capable of enforcing immigration in America with heart and compassion,” said Rep. Adriano Espaillat (NY-13).2
For anti-ICE extremists, heart and compassion means open borders and no enforcement. Fortunately, this decision is not in the hands of America’s liberal fringe quite yet.
H. Res. 990 & S. Res. 572 conflict: support federal officers or not?
H. Res. 990, Supporting the officers and personnel who carry out the important mission of the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement aptly describes what “heart and compassion” really means:
Whereas abolishing United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) would mean open borders because it would eliminate the main agency responsible for removing people who enter or remain in our country illegally;3
The resolution passed but not a single House Democrat signed on as cosponsor to a simple call to support federal officers who put their lives on the line. Illegal immigrants come first.
In the Senate only one party member, West Virginia’s Joe Manchin, did the right thing and backed S. Res. 572. That wasn’t enough. His fellow party members disagreed and the resolution failed:
Democrats, in a willful disregard of the work ICE does in protecting American families from cartel violence, human traffickers and drug addiction, blocked the resolution from receiving Senate passage.4
Instead, Kamala Harris worries that pregnant illegal immigrants will not receive better treatment than our own citizens who give birth in prison:
“I’m also concerned, are they being accompanied by ICE officers to a hospital or are they – is the anticipation that they will give birth in a detention facility?5
The anti-ICE heat is on: yes vote means no
When it was time for a roll call vote in the House and the heat was on saying no to supporting federal officers wasn’t quite as easy as refusing to co-sponsor the resolution. Reconsideration was in order.
From Ami Bera (D-CA):
However, this vote was a reluctant yes. While Immigration and Customs Enforcement helps us combat human trafficking, intercept drugs, and secure our immigration process, this resolution was a partisan gimmick. It does nothing to address the underlying issues of our broken immigration system.6
Al Lawson (D-FL) talked sense. He seems to have learned from the GOP’s failure on health care:
Simply abolishing the agency without a comprehensive plan to replace it is shortsighted.7
On the extremist side, Dina Titus (D-NV) talked partisan nonsense and tried to sound sympathetic to federal officers by shifting the blame for rejecting big labor to Republicans:
After spending this entire Congress demonizing hard-working federal employees and undermining public service unions, Republicans now pull this political stunt to further hateful and xenophobic rhetoric meant to paint immigrants as criminals and gang members.8
Mass Democratic Party confusion: what do these people want?
There was a time long ago when Democrats had their heads screwed on tighter. As Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) points out:
House Democrats once worked collaboratively with Republicans to improve the effectiveness of federal immigration enforcement. Now, it appears that they are outraged when ICE has the audacity to actually enforce the laws that we have enacted.9
To add further irony and confusion to this story, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus tried to have it both ways. The group adopted a contrarian position by rejecting calls to dump ICE and saying no to immigration enforcement as well:
Simply terminating ICE fails to address President Trump’s underlying cruel immigration policies and priorities that target families and children. Any federal agency charged with conducting immigration enforcement, regardless of their name or place on an organizational chart, will continue to implement Trump’s depraved immigration priorities.10
Stupid, depraved policy
There are many opinions on what “depraved” means, just like there are many definitions of “stupid.” One of these is paying money to stop a problem we encourage.
Congressional Democrats want to dump federal officers because they enforce the law, but they acknowledge that we hand lots of money to other countries to stop their people from coming here:
This past year, Congress provided $750 million in aid for Central America specifically to help deter illegal immigration to the United States.11
We spend nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars south of the border to stop illegal immigration. At the same time we send the message that anyone who comes to the U.S. is welcome and our immigration enforcement is “cruel and inhumane”12 and must come to an end at all costs.
That doesn’t make any sense, but neither does anything else about our handling of a politically-contrived crisis that a quick read of the law and pat on the back for federal law enforcement would fix until we come up with a solution that saner, less extreme minds than those of extremist Democrats can live with.
1. “About AFGE National Council.” National ICE Council. http://iceunion.org/about, retrieved August 2, 2018.
2. “Representative Adriano Espaillat Votes No On House Resolution 990.” Adriano Espaillat. July 18, 2018. https://espaillat.house.gov/media/press-releases/representative-adriano-espaillat-votes-no-house-resolution-990, retrieved August
3. “H.Res.990 – Supporting the officers and personnel who carry out the important mission of the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement.” Congress.gov. https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-resolution/990/text, retrieved August 1, 2018.
4. “Senate Democrats Block Passage of Sen. Kennedy’s Pro-ICE Resolution.” John Kennedy. July 18, 2018. https://www.kennedy.senate.gov/public/press-releases?id=9422E2E0-D60E-411D-825F-8C67887E22AB, retrieved August 3, 2018.
5. “At Hearing on Family Separations, Harris Blasts Immoral Separations and Inhumane Detention of Pregnant Women.” Kamala Harris. July 31, 2018. https://www.harris.senate.gov/news/press-releases/at-hearing-on-family-separations-harris-
blasts-immoral-separations-and-inhumane-detention-of-pregnant-women, retrieved August 3, 2018.
6. “Statement from Congressman Ami Bera on H. Res. 990.” Ami Bera, M.D. July 18, 2018. https://bera.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/statement-from-congressman-ami-bera-on-h-res-990, retrieved August 2, 2018.
7. “Lawson Statement on H.Res. 990.” Al Lawson. July 19, 2018. https://lawson.house.gov/media/press-releases/lawson-statement-hres-990, retrieved August 2, 2018.
8. “Rep. Titus Releases Statement on H.Res.990.” Dina Titus. July 18, 2018. https://titus.house.gov/press-releases/rep-titus-releases-statement-on-hres-990, retrieved August 2, 2018.
9. “Goodlatte: We Must Support Our Nation’s Immigration Enforcement Officers.” House of Representatives Judiciary Committee. July 18, 2018. https://judiciary.house.gov/press-release/goodlatte-we-must-support-our-nations-immigration-enforcement-officers/, retrieved August 1, 2018.
10. “Congressional Hispanic Caucus Opposes Bill to Terminate ICE.” Congressional Hispanic Caucus. July 13, 2018.
11. “Rep. Cuellar Issues Statement Regarding Release of Undocumented Central American Immigrants in Laredo.” Henry Cuellar. January 2, 2017. https://congressionalhispaniccaucus-lujangrisham.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/congressional-hispanic-caucus-opposes-bill-to-terminate-ice, retrieved August 3, 2018.
12. “Rep. Chu Statement on Republican Attempt to Distract from Border Crisis.” Judy Chu. July 19, 2018. https://chu.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/rep-chu-statement-republican-attempt-distract-border-crisis-0, retrieved August 3, 2018.