Left-wing Democrats are no longer hiding their intentions. They want to cease enforcing the immigration laws by abolishing the agency responsible for such enforcement.
Every president takes an oath to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution”, and that Constitution charges him with the responsibility to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed”.
President Obama notoriously chose to reject that responsibility in regard to the immigration laws, allowing millions of illegal aliens to remain in the United States. He claimed that it was merely a by-product of devoting limited resources to higher priorities.
Now many Democrats are throwing off all pretense that their policy is one of prioritized enforcement, and freely admit that they wish to nullify the immigration laws. They are calling on Congress to cut off all funds to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which enforces the laws regarding illegal entry into the US. They are also demanding that Democratic candidates, especially those expected to run for President in 2020, make abolition of ICE part of their campaign platform.
According to these critics, ICE is “a racist, corrupt, and thuggish organization” (Jack Mirkinson), “an immigrant disposal system” (Molly Roberts), and a “threat to democracy” (Sean McElwee). They make clear that their purpose is not to reform ICE, but to prevent it from functioning at all. “The goal of abolishing the agency is to abolish the function” says McElwee.
If the rule of law is to have any meaning, the laws must be enforced at all times. Congress has enacted laws limiting immigration to the United States, and even most liberals have not been willing to openly argue for replacing those laws with an open borders policy.
Deportation of those who manage to illegally enter the US is an essential part any policy other than open borders. There will always be some who manage to slip across the border. (Jose Zarate, who killed Kate Steinle, was able to sneak into the United States six times.) There will also continue to be those who enter the US legally on a temporary visa and then decide to stay. If we did not have ICE to track down and deport such lawbreakers, then we would have a de facto policy of open borders.
There are good reasons for limiting immigration, and the current laws were enacted with bipartisan support. Voters should question the candidates for Congress this year to be sure that they support continued enforcement, and will vote against any attempt to defund or otherwise handicap ICE.
Peter J. Thomas
Chairman, The Conservative Caucus