Gillibrand: Hey, let's get rid of ICE

Who knew that the next litmus test for progressives would be eliminating federal agencies? Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has decided to outdo her fellow progressives in their ire over immigration enforcement by becoming the first senator to demand the dismantling of ICE. Gillibrand told CNN’s Chris Cuomo last night that “you should get rid of it,” in response to criticisms that she didn’t properly support surprise primary winner Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez:

In an interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo, the New York Democrat was asked whether she agreed with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who defeated 10-term incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.) in a primary Tuesday while running on a platform to fully shut down ICE.

“Well, I agree with it. I don’t think ICE today is working as intended,” Gillibrand said, referring to Ocasio-Cortez’s platform.

Pressed on the issue by Cuomo, Gillibrand went further than her liberal colleagues including Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), who have called for the agency to be examined but not fully abolished.

“I believe that it has become a deportation force. And I think you should separate out the criminal justice from the immigration issues,” she continued. “I think you should reimagine ICE under a new agency, with a very different mission, and take those two missions out. So we believe that we should protect families that need our help, and that is not what ICE is doing today.”

“And that’s why I believe you should get rid of it, start over, reimagine it and build something that actually works,” she added.

Put this one in the Someone Left The Irony On Department. When conservatives call for the elimination of federal government agencies, usually for their overreach into areas that fall outside the constitutional authority of Washington, we get scolded that “government is what we do together,” and that we just hate government of any kind. In the case of ICE, we have a government agency that acts within the clear constitutional authority of the federal government in enforcing the borders, and suddenly it’s progressives that “hate government.” Maybe someone should remind them that their idea of Utopia consists of nothing but government agencies running everything else. Except the border, apparently.

Gillibrand says that ICE should be replaced, of course, but … replaced with what, and to do what? The issues Gillibrand and other progressives have with ICE are the result of the agency enforcing immigration laws — lately, for the first time in years. If that results in complications and bad outcomes, dismantling the agency and replacing it with another won’t work, because the successor agency will also have to enforce the same laws. That’s what happened when they changed the name on the letterhead from Immigration and Naturalization Service to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Calling it the Happy Time Family Fun Bureau won’t make any difference either, not as long as the law remains the same.

If Gillibrand doesn’t like the law, she’s in luck! She’s actually in position to change them. So why isn’t Gillibrand focused on working with the majority to change the law and fix the poorer outcomes in immigration enforcement? Because she’s more focused on protecting her left flank after snubbing Ocasio-Cortez and posing on national television. If Gillibrand really wants to eliminate federal agencies that create misery and hardship for Americans, maybe she should rejuggle her Scrabble board and subtitute R-S for C-E. We’ll just wait by the phone for her call on that one.

Update: Or F-B, I suppose:

We could get rid of the ATF, too, and the DEA. Anyone else?