Democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won her congressional primary in New York in part by vowing to “#AbolishICE.” On her campaign website, she spells out her bold position on “immigration justice”: “It’s time to abolish ICE, clear the path to citizenship, and protect the rights of families to remain together.”
But when confronted with the important role Immigration and Customs Enforcement plays, particularly with regard to the recent deportation of a former Nazi, the rising star of the Democratic Party suggested that when she says #AbolishICE, she doesn’t exactly mean “abolish ICE” in the way that many of her more radical supporters might think.
As Taylor Millard points out, Townhall Editor Katie Pavlich noted last week that the agency Ocasio-Cortez and her supporters love to hate recently rid the U.S. of one particularly unwanted guest. “[Ocasio-Cortez] wants to abolish ICE. Today ICE deported an actual Nazi from her congressional district in Queens.”
Here’s an excerpt from ABC 7‘s coverage of the high-profile deportation (formatting adjusted):
ICE agents captured a suspected notorious Nazi war criminal who had lived in Queens for decades. Exclusive ABC News video showed agents remove 95-year-old Jakiw Palij on a stretcher from his Jackson Heights home Monday. He was deported early Tuesday morning to Germany.
Palij, a former armed guard at a concentration camp, had lived in the United States since 1949 and became a citizen less than a decade later, concealing his Nazi service, the White House said. “I would never have received my visa if I told the truth. Everyone lied,” Palij told Justice Department investigators in 1993.
After the war, Palij maintained friendships with other Nazi guards who the government said came to the U.S. under similar false pretenses. And in an interesting coincidence, Palij and his wife purchased their home near LaGuardia Airport in 1966 from a Polish Jewish couple who had survived the Holocaust and were not aware of his past.
Ocasio-Cortez responded to Pavlich’s tweet by explaining what she really means by the famous hashtag.
“#AbolishICE means not having an agency that incarcerates children and sexually assaults women with impunity,” she wrote in response. “It does not mean abolish deportation.”
She closed out the tweet by working in a racially-charged jab at Republicans: “Also, I have no problem saying white supremacy has no place in this country. It’s the GOP that struggles to say that.”
As is the case with just about everything she tweets, the Democratic candidate’s statement triggered strong responses online from all over the ideological spectrum, but particularly from her critics on the Right. A few examples:
Millard notes that, historically, democratic socialists’ record on “open borders” is about as anti-open borders as you get, including that of Ocasio-Cortez’s ideological mentor Bernie Sanders, who famously slammed the idea of open borders as something that “would make everybody in America poorer.”
Ocasio-Cortez’s platform includes several radical agenda items including “Medicare for All,” “Housing as a Human Right,” a federally mandated “living wage,” progressive gun control, transitioning the U.S. to “100% renewable energy,” and, of course, abolishing ICE.
Here’s her campaign site’s full statement on “Immigration Justice / Abolish ICE”:
It’s time to abolish ICE, clear the path to citizenship, and protect the rights of families to remain together.
The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency was created in 2003, in the same suite of post-9/11 legislation as the Patriot Act and the Iraq War. Its founding was part of an unchecked expansion of executive powers that led to the widespread erosion of Americans’ civil rights. Unlike prior immigration enforcement under the INS, ICE operates outside the scope of the Department of Justice and is unaccountable to our nation’s standards of due process.
Now we see the consequences: young children are being ripped from their parents and kept in detention centers without due process and without accountability to Congress.
As overseen by the Trump administration, ICE operates with virtually no accountability, ripping apart families and holding our friends and neighbors indefinitely in inhumane detention centers scattered across the United States. Alex believes that if we are to uphold civic justice, we must abolish ICE and see to it that our undocumented neighbors are treated with the dignity and respect owed to all people, regardless of citizenship status.