Joining Ocasio-Cortez in Call to Abolish ICE

Leaping over the political precipice?

By Dan Cadman on July 6, 2018

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez scored an upset victory over longtime incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley in the June 28 Democratic primary election for New York's U.S. House District 14. Many pundits have cited her win as evidence of the casting off by younger Democratic voters of the bonds linking them to older career pols like Crowley who, until being toppled, was thought to be in the running to take over Nancy Pelosi's job at some future point.

Ocasio-Cortez is a self-admitted socialist running as a Democrat, and a vigorous open borders advocate; one of those radical progressives that first began clamoring for the abolition of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agency responsible for interior immigration enforcement, detention, and removals from the United States. She has made a number of remarks that alternately reflect an ignorance of history, a deliberate misstatement of facts, and/or puzzling statements of the obvious.

For instance, she consistently refers to the "militarization" of the border, even though that is untrue. The only part of DHS that is "military", and this is only in times of war, is the U.S. Coast Guard. All other parts of DHS (and its predecessor agency the Immigration and Naturalization Service), including the U.S. Border Patrol, are civil federal law enforcement agencies. In fact, the Posse Comitatus Act (Title 18 U.S. Code Section 1325) is generally understood to prohibit use of the military for law enforcement, which is why National Guard troops stationed at the border only act in support roles.

Ocasio-Cortez has also suggested that prosecutions for illegal entry began in 1999. (Why that date, I'm unsure.) The criminal statute in question, Section 275 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), codified at Title 8 U.S. Code Section 1325, has existed since passage of the INA, commonly known as the McCarran-Walter Act, on June 27, 1952. Aliens crossing the United States illegally have routinely been prosecuted for that offense since passage of the act. Because it is not deemed to be a "continuing offense" (meaning that it is the discrete act of illegal crossing that has been criminalized), in order to be charged, an alien must be apprehended in close proximity in time and geography to the border he or she has crossed illegally. This of necessity means that such prosecutions only take place in areas immediately adjacent to our physical borders, usually the southern land border because of the high volume of illegal crossings there. Operations Gatekeeper, Hold the Line, and Safeguard — all operations designed to discourage illegal entry on the Southwest border, especially aliens who were crossing and entering specifically to commit crimes — focused on all the tools at their disposal to disrupt illegal crossings, including use of the criminal statutes such as illegal entry, as previously discussed, as well as the felony charge for reentry after deportation, which can be found at INA Section 276, 8 U.S.C. Section 1326.

And, she has referred to ICE as a "deportation force". Yes, it is. That is the reason we have agents assigned to enforce the immigration laws against alien violators. Does the American taxpayer really want an expensive, ineffective cadre of agents — at the border or in the interior — who do nothing but spin their wheels daily in an illusion of productivity, but with no actual arrests or removals? That might suit open borders advocates, but it does nothing to safeguard our borders or our interior communities against alien violators, criminals, or recidivists.

Or is the notion even more extreme, that once you manage to evade the Border Patrol at the country's physical perimeter, you've automatically earned yourself a go-free card in the interior because there's no longer anyone there to enforce the law? I can't think of a quicker way to be overwhelmed.

Consider that currently the three most populous groups of illegal border-crossers consist of nationals from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. Is there any reason to think that huge swaths of the individuals who reside in those countries won't want to head north once it's clear that all they have to do is "jump the line"?

Here are the respective populations of those countries according to the July 2017 estimates in the CIA's World FactBook:

  • Mexico: 124,574,795
  • El Salvador: 6,172,011
  • Guatemala: 15,460,732
  • Honduras: 9,038,741

Now, once the olly-olly-oxen-free flow starts, out of an abundance of caution, we should add probable influxes of aliens from Nicaragua (6,025,951), which has been experiencing unrest based on dissatisfaction with the Sandinista government; plus Haiti (10,646,714) and likely the Dominican Republic (10,734,247), since they share the island of Hispaniola.

We're now up to a potential inflow of 182,653,191. That's well more than half of the existing U.S. population (326,625,791) who will be jostling with one another, and American citizens, for an increasingly shrinking piece of the economic pie and social service benefits network. Even if you cut the figure in half, you're discussing more than 90 million migrants — and that overlooks the many millions of nationals from the continents of Africa, Asia, and the Indian subcontinent who would likely try to use Mexico as their stepping stone once the game of "run for the border" began in earnest.

If that kind of mass migration disaster is not what Ocasio-Cortez and others (like Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison, the party's deputy national committee chair, who has been seen at demonstrations wearing an "I Don't Believe in Borders" t-shirt,an odd thing for a member of the United States Congress to assert), then exactly what is the end game as they see it? I've never heard them articulate it. How do you meaningfully sort through who gets to stay and who doesn't? And who will do that job for you in the absence of ICE?

Here's another point I've been pondering: Ocasio-Cortez's successful challenge of a seasoned Democratic politician of good standing raised so many eyebrows that a number of others, including presidential hopefuls such as Democratic Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, Elizabeth Warren, and Kamala Harris have suddenly and unabashedly joined her cry for elimination of the agency. The Hill went so far as to assert that "Abolishing ICE becomes Dem litmus test".

I don't quite understand this quick stampede toward what is clearly an extreme left position that I doubt will have traction with most voters. When you actually look at what happened in the primary, it doesn't seem all that impressive. I'm told that the district is reliably Democratic and extremely liberal, so defeating the incumbent doesn't seem out of the norm.

But more importantly, look at the stats. Only 27,658 Democrats voted in that primary; of those, Ocasio-Cortez received 15,897 and Crowley, 11,761. Doing the very simple math, what this means is that exactly 4,136 more Democratic voters agreed with Ocasio-Cortez's positions, including elimination of ICE. That's it. A hair over 4,000 voters. Does that sound like a revolution in the making within the Democratic party? Does eliminating ICE sound like a winning platform for a presidential candidate? Doubtful.

Be that as it may, I say go for it! Line up behind Ocasio-Cortez and leap over that precipice! In doing so, you'll be proving once again that you have underestimated the American electorate and, more generally, the American people, who have no objections whatever to preserving our country's sovereignty and insisting on a regimen of laws by which we regulate the comings and goings of foreigners across our frontiers and within the interior as well.