“Trump’s Mass Deportation Force Works Tirelessly to Tear Families Apart,” screams the headline of an April 24 press release issued by the Democratic National Committee (DNC). The press release was issued in response to recent enforcement actions carried out by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Enforcing some 400 immigration statutes and placing people who violate them in removal proceedings is ICE’s job, kind of like the IRS’s job is to locate and prosecute people who commit tax fraud. A frequent result of both agencies’ actions (and countless other law enforcement departments) is that the offenders are separated from their families. “Tearing apart families” is not the goal of ICE any more than it is the objective of the IRS; it is a consequence of legitimate law enforcement. Moreover, the onus for these consequences rests with the people who break laws, not the folks who enforce them.
The hyperbole of the DNC does not end with their assertion that immigration enforcement is the lone area in which those who enforce the laws are responsible for the hardships suffered by the law-breakers’ families. No, in addition to “tearing apart families,” ICE is “detaining immigrants without justification, leaving U.S.-born children without their parents, and stoking fear in immigrant communities,” charges the DNC.
Such characterizations of sworn peace officers, by the leadership of one of our two major political parties, steps right up to the line of sedition. Accusing law enforcement officers of heinous and deliberate behavior and acting outside the law (“detaining immigrants without justification”) is not mere political rhetoric. It can potentially endanger the lives and safety of the men and women who serve in ICE.
Among the DNC’s list of grievances against ICE doing its job is that some of the people it arrested in recent enforcement actions had no criminal records. Citing enforcement actions in the New York City area, the DNC noted that of the 225 people ICE arrested, “45…had no outstanding criminal issues.” Which, of course, means that 180 did. Clearly when 80 percent of the people who were arrested did have “criminal issues,” asserting that ICE is working “tirelessly to tear families apart,” or is deliberately “stoking fear in immigrant communities” is a lie. And nowhere in the 400 statutes that ICE enforces does it say that immigration law violators have to have committed other offenses in order to be subject to removal.
But even the DNC’s implied assertion that if ICE had only acted against deportable aliens with “criminal issues” it would have been acceptable to them is also false. The leadership of the Democratic Party is unanimous in its support for sanctuary policies that shield criminal aliens from removal and is committed to the defense of those policies.
The DNC has a right to advocate for any immigration policies it wants and to run candidates for office who support those policies. But the leadership of a major political party has a responsibility to refrain from incendiary rhetoric that imperils federal law enforcement officers who are working hard to protect the American public.