Ocasio-Cortez: Why are we funding ICE at all?

Why are we funding an agency that had a child die in its custody on Christmas Eve, she asks?

Except that was Customs and Border Protection, not ICE. And to hear AOC tell it, you’d think the child had died from official neglect of his illness, if not outright murder. He was taken to the hospital twice by CBP, having been released the first time by doctors with a prescription for nothing more serious than an antibiotic and ibuprofen. The agency didn’t leave him gasping on a cot in a corner somewhere.

But all of this is beside the point. ICE, CBP — the point of Ocasio-Cortez’s spiel last night to the Maddow faithful is that immigration enforcement is bad, full stop, whichever agency is responsible for it. Certainly immigration enforcement under a Republican is bad. If Joe Biden wins the presidency in 2020 and continues the more or less identical business-as-usual policies at the border pursued by the Obama and Trump administrations, the market for tirades like this one will evaporate among most Democrats. But maybe not among progressives; they really do seem all-in on open borders, to the periodic aggravation of leaders like Pelosi and Schumer. Ask yourself what sort of reforms might conceivably be made to ICE or CBP rendering them sufficiently “humane” in the left’s eyes that they’d then turn around and say, “Okay, here’s some funding, let the deportations resume”? Deportations are the core of the alleged inhumanity in their eyes. That’s why the slogan du jour is “abolish ICE,” not “reform ICE.”

The point she wanted to hammer last night, as you’ll see in the two clips below, was the idea that immigrants coming to America to seek a better life are acting “more American” than anyone who’d try to keep them from crossing the border. She said that twice to Maddow for emphasis, seemingly wanting viewers to take that point away from the interview if they took nothing else. There’s no limit to that position in principle, though: If everyone who wants to come to America is an American at heart (more American than actual Americans who favor limits on immigration, even!), by what right do we dare refuse them entry? They have a moral right to be here which our laws should recognize. She goes so far as to suggest that Trump is forcing people who want to migrate to the U.S. to do so illegally, having made all legal routes so onerous that they simply have no choice but to break the law. That is, she’s framing illegal immigration as a sort of righteous civil disobedience. There’s no limiting principle to that either.

They want open borders. Not all Democrats, but certainly AOC and other populist ideologues adored by progressives. Perhaps we’ll have a test in 2020 of which side is truly the more radical on immigration, the one led by a guy who wants to put a wall along the border or the one led by people like this who can’t figure out why we fund deportations in the first place. It’s already a cliche, but true: Like the Freedom Caucus vis-a-vis Republicans, Ocasio-Cortez and her fellow travelers in Congress will cause more problems for their own party’s leaders than they will for the other team.

I’ll leave you with this, from another precocious ideologue cheered by liberals: “Reminder: No one is illegal on stolen land.”