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Lewis Morris / Aug. 21, 2018

Immigration Problem? Put Some ICE on It

Trump hosted a White House event hosting agents of ICE and the Border Patrol.

President Donald Trump hosted an event at the White House Monday honoring the men and women of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Customs and Border Protection agencies.

“You are the patriots and you are the heroes,” Trump told the assembled agents and agency personnel. “You keep us safe and you keep us free. I am honored every single day to serve as your commander-in-chief. I will never leave your side; I will never leave the fight.”

It’s a good thing, too. Both agencies are increasingly under fire by the Left and the media as the debate simmers over illegal immigration and how the government is supposed to handle it. According to leftists, the government shouldn’t do anything at all about illegal immigration. In fact, they are calling for the outright abolition of ICE.

Don’t underestimate the power behind that challenge. The proposal to dismantle ICE may have started as an offhand remark by Bernie Sanders’s socialist padawan Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, but it is now a mainstream Democrat plank. Likely 2020 presidential candidates such as Kirsten Gillibrand, Elizabeth Warren, and Kamala Harris have all joined the call. And three House Democrats introduced legislation to follow through.

Leftists claim that U.S. border policies are harsh and inhumane, and their media lackeys dutifully go along, bending stories any way they can to fit that narrative. Take, for instance, the widely reported story of the illegal immigrant picked up by ICE while taking his pregnant wife to the hospital to have her baby. Conveniently left out of the reporting by virtually every major news outlet — at least the headlines or flashing TV alerts that most people see — was that the man was ducking an outstanding warrant issued for his arrest in Mexico on homicide charges.

Stories like this are meant to cast ICE as the villain, which then leads to further attacks against the agency. What many don’t understand, however, is that ICE is the backbone of America’s immigration enforcement. There would be (even more) chaos without it.

ICE is the principal agency for enforcing immigration laws inside the U.S., including the apprehension of illegal immigrants who have slipped past the Border Patrol; combatting the smuggling of weapons, drugs, and people into the country; and investigating immigration fraud schemes. ICE also protects immigrant communities by cracking down on criminal activity that takes place there. Gangs and other bad guys generally commit crimes in the communities in which they reside, making legal immigrants the victims.

There are other agencies that also handle some of these tasks, but they are already stretched beyond their limits. The sheer volume of cases is more than any single law enforcement agency can bear. Consider that last year over 700,000 people overstayed their visas. That is 300,000 more people than the number apprehended while trying to illegally cross the U.S. border with Mexico during that same period.

Take ICE out of the picture, and the whole immigration system would quickly unravel — which is exactly what the Left wants.

It has been said that Democrats and the Left care more about illegal immigrants than they do about American citizens. But even that’s a stretch because they don’t care about illegal immigrants, either. The leftist call for open borders is an attempt to break down American society by overwhelming our communities and our culture with bad people from foreign lands. Leftists discourage assimilation and the learning of English to help further that goal. Democrats see a fresh batch of voters they can hook onto the government dole and keep leftists in office.

But is this a political winner for Democrats? Not necessarily. As W. James Antle III notes, “House Republicans brought a pro-ICE resolution up for a vote to dare Democrats to vote against it — just 34 did, though 133 voted ‘present’ — while Trump brings it up often on the campaign trail.”

People need to look beyond the rhetoric that demonizes ICE and support the agency’s work to protect American communities from fraud, crime, and terrorism. Without ICE, American streets will not be safe. And that’s why Trump’s celebration yesterday was welcome.

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