What’s the one agenda item you would choose to prioritize in the middle of a raging border crisis? If you’re one of the Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee, it would be to gut the funding of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) with a particular focus on the group that’s responsible for detaining illegal aliens and removing them from the country. The panel approved a plan this week that would substantially “make over” the Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) segment of the agency, while drastically slashing the budget for those operations. One former director of ICE under the Trump administration described the plan as the “end game” for the agency because Democrats are “tearing it up piece by piece.” (NY Post)
House Democrats are moving to gut Immigration and Customs Enforcement — the federal agency responsible for arresting and deporting illegal immigrants — amid a raging southern border crisis that has grown exponentially since President Biden took office.
The House Appropriations Committee last week approved a plan to substantively makeover the portion of ICE that deals with illegal immigration, known as Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO), along with changes to how federal law enforcement officers would handle migrants.
But progressive Democrats, some of whom called in 2018 for the outright abolishment of ICE, did not stop there.
I’m sure you remember that whole “abolish ICE” platform that many Democrats ran on during the last election cycle. They were responding to a very vocal minority of activists in the left wing of the party who see border control enforcement officials as the real enemy, while the flood of drug smugglers, human traffickers and aspiring MS-13 members poring over the border are the real “victims” in all of this. And now some of the House Democrats are moving to repay those activists for their support.
As part of the proposed restructuring of the agency, they slashed an additional $331.6 million from the budget that funds detention facilities. This is being done even as immigration officials on the southern border have been struggling to find places to house detained aliens, putting them in everything from makeshift tent camps to sports stadiums.
So how will detainees be housed if these proposed changes are approved? The smaller budget will be used to fund “nonprofits partnering with the government” who will be awarded contracts to house them. Considering the gross conditions that have been seen in the shelters for immigrant families and unaccompanied children this year, a move like this might work out well for the Biden administration. Shelters run by private nonprofits would be off of the direct government payroll and not so much in the public eye.
You’ll recall that in February of this year, Biden’s acting head of ICE announced that officers would no longer be allowed to arrest illegal immigrants, including those convicted of crimes, unless they fit into one of a few specific categories. Between that and the new policy of simply shipping off illegal aliens into America’s interior without a court date, the flood gates were open. That led us to the Biden border crisis we’re all witnessing today.
Of course, the migrants who were released were being told to show up at an ICE facility within 60 days so a court date could be arranged. I know you’ll be shocked to learn that the vast majority of them never showed up and now they’ve simply disappeared into the American interior.
The whole idea of defunding or abolishing ICE was embraced by AOC and the squad, but it was quickly adopted by others including Elizabeth Warren and Kirsten Gillibrand. Biden has spoken of “reforming” our border enforcement operations frequently during his first six months in office. And now the plan seems to be kicking into gear. Very soon, all of the progress that was made in clearing out criminal illegal aliens under the Trump administration will have been washed away.