Abolishing ICE: Gateway To Open Borders?

When Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand calls for a “reimagining” of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) – the agency that began after 9/11 to address the failings of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) after they had granted visas to two of the hijackers – what she really means is she wants to abolish it.

She even said so at the New York City OZY festival.

“So when we flip the House and flip the Senate, I think the first thing we should do is deal with the children who have been separated from their families at the border. I think we should get rid of ICE,” Gillibrand said at the New York City festival OZY Fest, where she shared a stage with left-wing actress Chelsea Handler.

“We should separate out two missions, the anti-terrorism mission, the national security mission, and then on the other side make sure you’re do, making sure you’re looking at immigration as a humanitarian issue,” Gillibrand added.

While the “when” in her statement might be a bit premature, the meat of her desire (if you can get past the rhetorical hair-splitting) is fairly clear: ICE is a bad agency and needs to go.

A Pew poll confirmed that Democrats really dislike the agency they blame for what they see (without much data to support it) as a near-epidemic of immigrant babies being separated from their families while trying to enter the country illegally.

The same Pew poll found just 20% of Democrats and those who lean Democrat hold a favorable view of ICE, with a whopping 72% holding a “very” or “mostly” unfavorable view (45% firmly in the “very unfavorably” category).

And while ICE is not the same thing as border patrol (or US Customs and Border Protection (USCBP)), and as such it’s abolition wouldn’t lead to open borders, it’d be a start. And it’s becoming increasingly obvious that open borders is a very real policy change Democrats are flirting with. As Jonathan Tobin of National Review wrote back in June, Democrats may actually be rather cynically demonizing the agency in hopes  of keeping the issue of immigration front and center, to be used in midterm platforms:

This has created a race to the left on immigration among Democrats that will doom any hope of a deal on any of these issues. For example, former actress Cynthia Nixon, who is mounting a vocal and well-funded challenge to Andrew Cuomo’s effort to be reelected governor of New York, wasn’t content to merely match her opponent’s criticisms of Trump. She promised to give all illegal aliens access to driver’s licenses so as to make it harder for federal authorities to arrest them. Even worse, she is now demanding — to the applause of the hosts and the audience on The View, where she appeared — that the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency be abolished altogether and not replaced by any other body to perform the function of apprehending illegals.

And while Tobin says it’s a bad strategy because voters remain split on the issue and it may not be the winning platform they think it is, there’s another reason to be concerned about their love of open borders: it’s just a terrible policy idea.
Look at Germany, who at this moment is facing a migrant crisis forcing Chancellor Angela Merkel to walk back from past open border policies. And while VOX would have you believe it’s a reaction to conservative pressure and an attempt to maintain power, it’s more likely she’s doing it because Germany has a violent crime problem linked to refugees.
Now there are probably a boatload of reasons young, male refugees might engage in violent crime, but I’d bet one of them is the fact that there is little affection for their newfound living situation. And human beings often trash things they don’t care about. No one is stopping refugees in Germany at the border and explaining the rules of entry and what’s acceptable legally if one is to be welcomed as a new, productive member of the clan. And those are important things to know if you’re 19 and on your own, away from your family in a strange land.
Borders exist for national security reasons, economic reasons, etc. And those reasons are not inherently bad or evil things. This country, for example, is a nation of immigrants, and that’s a wonderful part of our shared history and there’s nothing to say it should end. But we should help those seeking better situations become Americans (personally, I think revisiting the naturalization process is a good start) who share in our evolving values and culture and future, instead of simply throwing open the door and asking nothing in return. No one would do that in their own home. It’s absurd to ask them to do that in their country.