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Jordan Candler / July 17, 2018

GOP’s Reversal on Forcing ICE Vote Is a Mistake

Democrat leaders won’t be forced to defend their party members who vote to abolish ICE.

With an astonishing swell of “Abolish ICE” demands billowing from Democrats, Republican leaders last week were determined to hold them accountable. On Thursday, The Hill reported, “House GOP leaders plan to bring a Democratic measure calling for the abolishment of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to the House floor, hoping to force Democrats into a difficult vote.” The sponsors of the measure, known as the Establishing a Humane Immigration Enforcement System Act, are Democrats Mark Pocan (WI), Pramila Jayapal (WA) and Adriano Espaillat (NY).

Rep. Pocan asserted, “President Trump’s blanket directive to round up and target all undocumented immigrants underscores the unchecked power which ICE has used to terrorize our communities. From conducting raids at garden centers and meatpacking plants to targeting families outside churches and schools, the president is using ICE as a mass-deportation force to rip apart the moral fabric of our nation.”

On the contrary, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) opined, “Democrats have been trying to make July 4th about abolishing ICE, which is a radical, extreme position that would lead to open borders and undermine America’s national security. I think it’s the wrong approach. I think everyone ought to be on record about where they stand on that issue.”

However, “House GOP leaders have scrapped a floor vote on a Democratic measure calling for the abolishment of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement,” The Hill now reports. “Instead, the House will vote Wednesday on a resolution — authored by Rep. Clay Higgins (R-La.) — to support ICE, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told reporters on Monday.”

McCarthy stated, “What I found so interesting is the Democrats introduced a bill to abolish ICE… [W]e give them an opportunity, and they say they don’t want to vote for it.” Which is exactly why Republicans should have forced a vote. AshLee Strong, spokeswoman for Speaker Ryan, declared: “After being called on their bluff, Democrats ran scared from their own bill. Democrats will now have the chance to stand with the majority of Americans who support ICE and vote for this resolution, or follow the extreme voices on the far left calling for abolishment of an agency that protects us.”

We’ve seen this about-face too many times before. Republicans — both during Barack Obama’s tenure and now — have been given numerous opportunities to put Democrats on record, yet they’ve balked almost every time citing political fallout. Democrat leaders did not want to be forced to defend their party members who voted to abolish ICE — an idea that voters oppose — and now they won’t have to. The Republicans’ list of political blunders just got a little longer.

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