It’s rapidly become something of an article of faith among the furthest left wing of the Democratic Party these days, particularly for those interested in possibly running for President in 2020. You need to call for the abolishment of the United States office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand jumped on the bandwagon this week. So did New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. But there’s one person among the new breed of Democrats who wasn’t quite ready to punch his ticket for the crazy train. That would be the godfather of the Berniecrats himself, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.
His refusal to drink the Kool-Aid actually took place last weekend on Jake Tapper’s Sunday show, but it took a while for the news to sink in among the liberal faithful. By the end of the week, however, liberals were labeling poor Bernie as being on the wrong side of history. (Free Beacon)
The senator was conspicuously ambiguous in his answer, refusing to call for abolishing ICE and expressing general support for “a national program” to “deal with immigration in a rational way.”
“I think that what we need is to create policies which deal with immigration in a rational way,” Sanders said. “What we need is Trump to sit down with members of Congress and work on a national program which deals with this serious issue.”
Sanders’ views did not seem to sit well with a younger generation of progressive activists and liberals, who are increasingly in favor of unmitigated restrictions on immigration.
Jeremey Scahill, a journalist who alongside Glen Greenwald founded The Intercept—a left-leaning online publication—in 2014, perhaps best summed up the growing sentiment on the left. The journalist took to social media shortly after the interview was broadcast to lambast the 76-year-old senator for having chosen to stand on the “wrong side of history.”
Here’s the video of Bernie refusing to go over the cliff.
Those are nearly treasonous words in Democratic circles these days. Who wants to put a bumper sticker on their car that reads, “We Must Deal With Immigration In a Rational Way!“?
The fact is that Sanders is likely aware that you can’t just wave a magic wand and “abolish” ICE. It’s part of the structure of the Department of Homeland Security and was created by an act of Congress and signed into law by President George W. Bush. In order to make it go away, you would need to herd all the cats in Congress to take up a bill designed to wipe out most of our ability to locate, detain and deport illegal aliens. And how would that play with the public?
The Washington Post took up the question this week but essentially threw up their hands, saying that “nobody knows” how the public would feel about a proposal to abolish ICE. While it’s true that there’s basically no polling on the question out there yet, we do know that historically voters support the somewhat vague concept of “border security.” The concept of open borders is not popular among Americans, and Democrats who hang that albatross around their necks are going to have a rough time of it come election day.
So maybe Sanders is onto something here. The guy has proved cagey in a number of ways when it comes to threading the political needle. He can criticize ICE and call for reforms to how they prioritize their duties without going full socialist and calling for the elimination of the agency. Well played, Bernie. You may turn out to be crazy like a silver-haired fox after all.