Democratic California Senator Kamala Harris compared Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) during a Senate hearing on Thursday and appeared to suggest that they act like a terrorist organization toward foreign nationals who are illegally in the United States.
Harris made the comparison during a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing to consider the nomination of Ronald Vitello to be the new director of ICE.
Harris asked Vitiello about comments he previously made in which he referred to the Democratic Party as “liberalcratic” or “NeoKlanist,” in an attempt to publicly shame him. Harris repeatedly pressed him to explain why he made the remark and why the remark was wrong for him to make.
“The Klan was what we could call today a domestic terrorist group,” said Vitiello, a 30-year Border Patrol veteran who has been serving as the acting head of ICE.
“Why?” Harris asked. “Why would we call them a domestic terrorist group?”
“Because they tried to use fear and force to change the political environment,” Vitiello responded.
“And what was the motivation for the use of fear and force?” Harris continued.
“It was based on race and ethnicity, ” Vitiello responded.
“Right,” Harris smugly replied back. “And are you aware of the perception of many about how the power and discretion at ICE is being used to enforce the law and do you see any parallels?”
“I do not see any parallels between sworn officers and agents–” Vitiello responded before getting cut off by Harris.
“I’m talking about perception,” Harris fired back.
“I do not see a parallel between what is constitutionally mandated as it related to enforcing the law,” Vitiello responded as Harris continued to rudely interrupt him. “I see no perception that puts ICE in the same category as the KKK.
Harris seemed oblivious to the fact that “51 percent of Border Patrol agents were Hispanic or Latino at the end of fiscal year 2016” and “50 percent of all Border Patrol staff, not just agents, were Hispanic or Latino.”
The exchange between Harris and Vitiello continued to escalate as Harris then proceeded to compare ICE to a terrorist organization, using Vitiello’s response that KKK was a terrorist organization because they “use fear and force” to falsely state that ICE does the same thing to immigrant communities.
Republican Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel responded to Harris’ remarks by saying, “Kamala Harris is trying to launch her 2020 campaign off of comparing ICE officers to the KKK, and it’s absolutely disgusting.”
Harris has a history of using hearings to grandstand and lie for political purposes, which she did during the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
In September, Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro wrote that Harris “attempted to grab the 2020 Democratic presidential limelight by launching into an attack on Judge Brett Kavanaugh … essentially accus[ing] Kavanaugh of stonewalling on whether he had spoken with President Trump’s law firm about the Robert Mueller investigation.”
“Kavanaugh correctly said he didn’t know what she was talking about, and also said he didn’t know every lawyer at Kasowitz Benson Torres — a law firm with nearly 300 attorneys. That didn’t stop Harris, who grandstanded for nearly 10 minutes, to the wild applause of the media,” Shapiro continued. “There’s only one problem: Harris had no evidence whatsoever that Kavanaugh had spoken with anyone at Kasowitz. And, in fact, Kasowitz stated today that Kavanaugh had not spoken with anyone at his law firm about Mueller.”