Following the lead of upstart New York congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is Delaware’s Kerri Evelyn Harris, who is hoping her liberal leanings will propel her to victory over incumbent Sen. Tom Carper in the September Democratic primary. To achieve that goal, Harris has embraced the modern-day “progressive” platform and just publicly backed the idea of abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
“I believe that we need to get rid of ICE … then reallocate the funds that are being wasted on our current use of ICE,” Harris told Hill.TV, adding that she believed ICE “makes us less secure within our borders and internationally because people are concerned [about]how we’re treated one another.”
The pair join a growing chorus of Democrats on the local and federal level, particularly those with eyes on 2020, supporting the abolition of the agency responsible for enforcing immigration law in the interior, combating human trafficking and assisting in international terror investigations. Supporters insist their efforts are not akin to ending immigration enforcement, but they have failed to provide an alternative enforcement agency.
The reason behind this is clear even to immigration moderates.
“Democrats would quickly discover that turning simple campaign slogans into reform of ICE’s law enforcement functions will encounter resistance from activists who fundamentally oppose the deportation of undocumented immigrants,” write the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Cristobal Ramon and David Lapan.
Conversely, Americans’ views of immigration are edging toward more enforcement, not less.
“There is a new middle on immigration, and it is further to the right than many may realize. Most Americans believe the U.S. immigration system is broken, out of control, and antiquated,” begins a new report from the Bipartisan Policy Center.
That conclusion was reached after a year of conducting focus groups, interviews and a survey from Luntz Global, which finds a majority of voters opposing amnesty or providing a path to citizenship “for free.”
While Americans are proud of being a so-called “a nation of immigrants,” they also believe that the “government is mismanaging the current system, and that strong immigration enforcement is necessary to establish control over immigration.”
In addition, the survey found:
- Support for securing the border with the construction of a wall combined with technology and personnel;
- Immigrants should be able to communicate in English;
- Focus group respondents strongly believe immigrants are taking benefits that should go to Americans first.
Americans do not want more tired slogans and political posturing, they want solutions. And “Abolish ICE” is not the answer to either a broken immigration system or a party with no ideas.