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Calls To Abolish ICE Getting Louder

Agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Los Angeles arrest foreign nationals on Feb. 7, 2017.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Los Angeles arrest foreign nationals on Feb. 7, 2017.
Calls To Abolish ICE Getting Louder
The Effort To Abolish ICE GUESTS: Art Castañares, publisher, La Prensa Ruben Navarrette, political commentator

The call to abolish ICE the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency is gaining traction with some Democratic leaders. Mass deportation raids conducted by ICE agents and the recent debacle of family separation handled largely by ICE has led to many questions about the ethics and competency of the agency. But is it enough to convince the American people to abolish the agency. Joining me are art Keston. He's publisher of La Prensa San Diego's bilingual newspaper art. Welcome to the program. Good morning Maureen and Ruben Navarrette. He's a political commentator and nationally syndicated columnist. He joins us by Skype. And Ruben welcome. Great to be with you thanks. Ruben let me start with you. What's your sense about what the call to abolish ice really means is it just a political statement or is it an effort to replace the agency with something else. I think it's a very imprecise and unfocused attempt by Democrats and some on the left to register their rightful disdain the contempt for the way that law enforcement is handling immigration policy these days. But it's imprecise because there's another agency out there U.S. Customs and Border Protection. They have a budget twice the size of ice. They're the ones who are responsible for separating families not ice so ice abolish ICE has become kind of a shorthand to say hey you know what I really don't like the way this stuff is being handled at the border. There needs to be a change. So let's abolish ice. Now let me get your your take on that one. What's your sense about what the call to abolish ice really means that Ruben is right that it really is more of a message. But there are new factions in the Democratic Party. There was a gathering of the Executive Committee of the Democratic Party this weekend and they endorsed Kevin de Leon for U.S. Senate over Dianne Feinstein. She got like 4 percent of the vote. And during that weekend Kevin alone hosted a social called abolish ice cream social. And it was full it was beyond capacity. I talked to people that were there. There is a faction of Duncraig party that really is pushing back at these policies that are very divisive. This bill has no chance of being passed. The Democrats now with the central Democrats in the leadership are doing is they're trying to get something on the floor because the Republicans have failed to put any kind of meaningful immigration reform up for a vote. And so now the Republicans think that they're going to make fools of the Democrats by putting this up for a vote. The Democratic Party is not going to vote for it. They're going to take that time on the floor to debate these policies and to make a case for real immigration reform so I think it's going to backfire a little bit on the Democrats but at the end of the day may end up being worse for the Republican leadership. I want to talk a little bit more about that move to bring that bill to the house on the floor of the House a little bit later in our conversation. But first Ruben you know you wrote an op ed about this abolish ice movement. And in it you talk about where where this immigration and customs enforcement agency came from and the fact that is it's really a pretty young agency. That's right. I mean ISIS is created has been created after 9/11 it was created out of a sense of fear and anger which were never get emotions to build anything from. And it was passed along with the Patriot Act was created in haste and it's worth really asking questions about whether the space agency it's only 15 years old in fact is really acting as effectively as it should. I started my column by saying you know if 15 year old human beings we don't trust them to let's see drive. You know buy alcohol gamble signed a contract. But we think that this 15 year old agency bureaucracy is somehow capable of running up a large portion of our immigration enforcement effort. So it is fair. The Republicans are way out to lunch when they say that somehow ice is above reproach and shouldn't be criticized. In fact they're hypocrites because the last time I checked Republicans were criticizing the FBI other law enforcement agencies like ATF. So every political party you know bashes the badge when it needs to. This is just the latest example of it to Art's point about this. This move that Republicans Republicans are making to bring the Democratic bill to abolish ice to the floor to force Democrats to vote for it or not to vote for it. Do you see this as a winning issue for Republicans. Absolutely no doubt about it. Democrats are haunted. And they've been haunted since the 1970s and the George McGovern campaign. That perception of being dovish weak on national security then they went through the 1980s perceived as being weak on national security and then weak on crime and now weak on borders. You saw the huffing and puffing Democrats did when they were accused of being for an open border and they rightly point out that they've they love to throw money at the border. Democrats do they support all sorts of funding measures for more border patrol agents walls and the like. So if you really want to get a Democrat in their soft spot accuse of being for an open border which is what Republicans are saying if you abolish ice or vote to abolish ice you're for an open border. It's just a sound bite. They're afraid of their own suggestion at this point and yet aren't you see this also as a way that Democrats can make a larger point about immigration. Sure. I think this is not just about lies and it really is ice has been demonized and the folks that are against these kinds of policies now used ISIS as the model for bad things right. They raid homes in the middle of the night to separate families and I think if it weren't for this issue of the separated children I think I think this issue could backfire on the Democrats. All right. Let's also be clear Democrats are registering their disgust with these policies when implemented by a Republican president. Because for eight years I tried in vain to get people like Kevin DeLeo and other Democrats who were phony on immigration to try to register some disdain and disgust for these policies when carried out by a Democratic primary. That's true. That is true that they say anything they say boo about it for the number of deportations increased under under Obama from bush families family separation kids in cages. All of those things occurred under Obama. The Democrats again are phony on immigration. They've failed this issue and the Latinos they claim to represent. Well didn't ramp up a bit of a notch though are it don't you think with the current situation of family separations the zero tolerance policy perhaps which has pushed it a little bit too far. Yeah I think it really has. It has broken this thing into a very fierce partisan fight and that's what you're seeing here. This is about the midterm elections as much as it is about true immigration reform. Nobody wants to put a bill up before the election that resolves this issue. Both sides want it to be a festering issue so they can each get to their base in turn about for the election. I have been speaking with our Castanea as publisher of La Prensa and Ruben Navarrette a nationally syndicated columnist. Gentlemen thank you very much. Good morning. Thank you.

The call to abolish the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency is gaining traction with some Democratic leaders.

After the recent victory of Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, who made abolishing ICE a cornerstone of her campaign, a group of progressive House Democrats have introduced a bill to abolish ICE and House Republicans say they plan to bring it to the floor for a vote this month.

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Deportation raids conducted by ICE agents and the recent outcry over the separation of immigrant families, handled partly by ICE, has led to many questions about the ethics and competency of the agency.

But is it enough to convince the American people to abolish the agency?

Art Castañares, publisher of La Prensa, a bilingual weekly newspaper in San Diego and political commentator Ruben Navarrette, discuss the push to abolish ICE Monday on Midday Edition.

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