Companies that Back Out of Existing Contracts in Support of 'Abolish ICE' Should Be Barred from All Future Federal Contracts

By Dan Cadman on July 18, 2018

There has been so much breath wasted on the absurd "Abolish ICE" (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) meme and its associated shenanigans lately that I've hated to devote too much to it myself. But I can't help but laugh out loud at the Democratic representatives who got too far ahead of the leftward curve and actually introduced legislation to eliminate the agency, and then cried "dirty trick" and said they wouldn't vote for their own bill, once Speaker Paul Ryan called their bluff and said he would bring it to the floor of the House so that members would be forced to go on the record as being for, or against, abolishment. (That threat has since been amended by a decision to instead introduce a resolution in the House of support for ICE, which is expected to take place this week.)

One of the corollaries to "Abolish ICE" is the pressure being put on sundry corporations (including Amazon), as well as county jails and detention centers, and even universities, to abrogate existing contracts or service agreements with ICE — or the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that it's a part of — by employees, county supervisors, students, and the like. Several have chosen to bow to the pressure and do so. (Simply do an internet search on "withdraw ICE contract" or "terminate ICE contract"; you'll see what I mean.)

In a related vein, I was watching an item on the news about the U.S. Army's decision to establish a "Futures Command" in Austin, Texas, to be run by a four-star general — a sure sign that the Army is taking the command seriously. The new command will focus on keeping U.S. defense readiness at its peak by focusing on remaining at the cutting edge of warfare in all its new forms, including cyber attacks, use of pulse weapons, or wherever technological advances may take us. This is a strategic development intended to assure military superiority well into the coming decades and thus aid in guaranteeing a peaceful future for the American people.

Needless to say, some on the Left are already unhappy with both the decision and its placement in Austin. Despite being the capital of Republican-dominated Texas, Austin is a reliably progressive college town. For instance, last year, Austin's South by Southwest (SxSW) music and visual arts festival got dragged into the immigration debate over language in performing artists' contracts requiring compliance with immigration laws in order to perform. (The language was almost certainly there to protect SxSW producers from civil or criminal penalties related to hiring or paying unauthorized workers, including bands and performers at the festival.)

But immigration issues aside, Austin is also developing into a technological hub much like Silicon Valley in California. Consequently, "progressive" voices are now being raised in the community that universities and tech centers should refuse to do business with the new command, or walk away from agreements already reached, despite the fact that the Army has already sent its first soldiers into Austin to begin the infrastructure development that will be needed to support the command.

Although corporations, universities, and even municipalities clearly maintain their First Amendment rights under the Constitution, including the right to decide not to bid on contracts or service agreements, it is equally clear that the federal government has a compelling interest in ensuring continuity of operations across the broad range of its various functions, whether in national defense or homeland security.

Once an entity has chosen to opt out of existing agreements based on after-the-fact moral equivocations (or simply by caving in to pressure from social justice warriors), it seems to me that it should forfeit the right to bid on any other contracts or agreements posted by the federal government — or even state or local job bids, if the money underwriting the project(s) has come from federal taxpayer dollars. After all, by abrogating its obligations it has shown it cannot be relied upon.

Perhaps this is something that ought to be explored by the Trump White House, because it likely could be accomplished by promulgation of a presidential executive order.