Congressional Democrats thought the recent hysteria and hyperbole surrounding the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy was an October surprise that came months early. Photos of illegal alien mothers with agitated children, unverified secret recordings of crying toddlers and a servile media pushing the narrative of the no-border interest groups made a “blue wave” election more than a possibility.
Last week, Democratic Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez used an “Abolish ICE” platform to win an upset victory, in New York’s Democratic Primary, over 10-term Rep. Joe Crowley and rock-star status among liberals and anti-Trump activists.
Perspective 2020 Democratic presidential candidates Sens. Kamala Harris of California and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York also hopped on the open border bandwagon hoping to cement their activist bona fides.
“Abolish ICE” was no longer a whisper at fringe gatherings, it was now the spoken – and more often screamed – mantra of the Democratic Party. While avoiding questions about the policy implications, some politicians and consultants appeared to be having difficulty trying to tame the mass-amnesty beast unleashed in recent weeks.
But, the masses were demanding heads in the streets, others were “moderating” their rhetoric (just not their actual policies).On Sunday, former Obama official and frequent Trump critic Walter Shaub tweeted that he had “deleted all tweets about my concerns over the potential ineffectiveness of ‘Abolish ICE’ because people are unfairly attacking me as though I support ICE. If our cause can’t tolerate questioning, we’ve got a heck of an uphill climb in store for us.”
Then, in an apparent attempt to walk back its radical stance, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus circulated a memo among Capitol Hill Democrats calling not to abolish ICE but for “increasing transparency and accountability.”
The memo, obtained by The Daily Beast concluded that “abolishing ICE without changing President Trump’s disastrous immigration policy will not solve the problem.”
In a Sunday interview on CNN, Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Hawaii) maintained that without a change in administration policies, there would be no point to abolishing ICE.
“You abolish ICE now, you still have the same president,” said Duckworth, adding that “there are a lot of other things we can do before we get to that point.”
Her colleague, Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), ran from the question of whether he favored abolishing ICE when asked directly.
“My priority is to abolish this administration’s policy on immigration that separates parents from children and that denies people coming to this country to seek asylum for domestic abuse or gang violence,” Cardin said.
Pressed to provide a “yes” or “no” answer, Cardin weakly responded, “We have to have an agency at the border; I want that policy to reflect not what President Trump has done.”
Echoing her argument in an opinion piece was CNN contributor Dean Obeidallah entitled, “Abolish ICE” isn’t about open borders” and suggested “all the problems with ICE emanate from one person: Trump. They are carrying out Trump’s policies.”
Bashing Trump’s policies may not be the wisest strategic shift.
A recent Harvard/Harris poll found that while Americans do not support the separation of families at the border, 71 percent support the President Trump’s executive action to ensure family unification; 70 percent back stricter enforcement and a majority (55 percent) support prosecuting illegal border crossers and oppose “catch-and-release.”
Abolishing ICE might be popular among the radical Left, but it is a platform unlikely to win votes among the majority of hard-working Americans.