Democracy at Work

“Abolish ICE” isn’t a solution, argues my colleague Ed Morrissey at the Daily Beast today, it’s a slogan. Indeed, and that’s being generous. It started as a Twitter hashtag, per HuffPost. As the phrase started showing up more online, desperate opportunists like Kirsten Gillibrand who are looking for an angle to shore up their left flank in the 2020 primaries glommed onto it. Just like that, the hashtag #AbolishICE had become the slogan “Abolish ICE,” which had in turn become a semi-serious policy proposed by a semi-serious U.S. senator. And once it did, other supposedly serious 2020 contenders had to keep pace with Gillibrand by proposing it too.

Suddenly Democrats have a problem.
How big a problem? Richard Cohen:
The socialist label, combined with the demand to obliterate the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, is the nitro and the glycerin of a bomb that Trump can throw at the Democrats. It combines the bugaboo of socialism with the irrational fear of immigrant hordes rampaging through the countryside.

The latter fear is not to be messed with. In Germany, it may yet bring down Angela Merkel’s government and has already made doughty Denmark mad with anti-immigrant regulations that reveal a nation demented by cultural paranoia.
Yeah, you're definitely winning back Rust Belt voters by describing people who share their views as "irrational" and "demented." And this is the sane part of the Left, the part that isn't openly advocating abolishing immigration enforcement and opening the border. They may still want to do it, and consider any opposition to doing it crazy and/or racist. But they're at least sensible enough to know not to say it out loud.

Back to Allah:
Overall, across the total population, “abolish ICE” sits at 21/44 — and that’s the more encouraging of the two recent polls for progressives. The other outfit to poll this question, Harvard-Harris, found trainwreck numbers for liberals when it asked if ICE should be disbanded...
So what should be done instead? The polling on this is pretty clear, too.
“Do you think that people who make it across our border illegally should be allowed to stay in the country or sent home?”

Sixty-four percent -- 83 percent of Republicans, 47 percent of Democrats and 66 percent of independents -- said they should be sent home. Only 36 percent said they should be allowed to stay.

Penn then asked: “Do you think that parents with children who make it across our border illegally should be allowed to stay in the country or sent home?”

“The presence of children made little difference in the result,” York stated before noting that “61 percent -- 81 percent of Republicans, 40 percent of Democrats and 66 percent of independents -- said they should be sent home, while 39 percent said they should be allowed to stay.”
This shouldn't be that surprising, because our actual laws say the same thing as these supermajorities. Crossing the border away from a port of entry is illegal; it's a misdemeanor, but nevertheless a Federal crime. Smuggling a child across the border is a felony. The laws haven't changed, and it is pretty clear based on last week's song and dance in Congress that they aren't going to change. The laws aren't going to change because the laws already say what most Americans want them to say.

In fact, given the strength of the polling numbers, what should be surprising is that we're discussing the issue so hotly. One suspects that there is a coordinated campaign to try to create a controversy where, in fact, the American public has a large degree of consensus. Who would benefit from such a controversy?


Texan99 said...

I'm starting to hear a bit of effort toward the more nuanced "repeal and replace" point of view: don't just abolish ICE and leave the border completely undefended, as many Democrats seemed to be suggesting, but replace ICE with something or other mumble mumble that would be nicer to people but still fulfill some kind of ill-defined function. I think the damage is done, though.

jaed said...

"Humane immigration policy" seems to be the slogan of the hour among moderates. I gather that it means the same thing as "comprehensive immigration reform" used to.