After using its official Twitter account to lob attacks at lawmakers who’ve thrown their support behind the growing movement to abolish the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, the Trump administration on Thursday released a lengthy defense of the organization responsible for rounding up and deporting undocumented people all over America.
The statement, which opens with a quote from President Trump advising the “the great and brave men and women of ICE” not to “worry or lose your spirit,” contains four sections mystifyingly titled “SAVE ICE,” “REMOVING CRIMINALS,” “SEIZING DEADLY DRUGS,” and “HELPING PREVENT TERRORISM.”
It reads in part (emphasis theirs throughout):
SAVE ICE: Leading Democrats in Congress have called for United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to be abolished, which would grind immigration enforcement to a halt, with devastating consequences for public safety.
Abolishing ICE would mean open borders because it would eliminate the agency responsible for removing people who enter or remain in our country illegally, including drug dealers; gang members; and child molesters, rapists, and other sex offenders.
Calls to abolish ICE are an insult to these heroic law enforcement officers who make sacrifices every day to secure our borders, enforce our laws, and protect our safety and security.
President Trump will protect ICE so these brave Americans can continue to do their job of protecting our communities.
Aside from that last point not being even an attempted refutation, this bit shows how the White House is happy to gloss over the details in making the case for a hyperactive and expanded immigration law force. For one: ICE doesn’t police the borders (that’s the purview of Customs and Border Protection, another division of Homeland Security) and abolishing the entity tasked with carrying out the administration’s worst ills wouldn’t suddenly dissolve all borders. (Although that would be a great next step.)
The final section seems to imply, Mark Wahlberg-like, that had it existed at the time, ICE could’ve stopped 9/11:
HELPING PREVENT TERRORISM: Abolishing ICE would mean eliminating the agency that deports aliens that pose a terrorist threat to the United States.
ICE was created in 2003 to better protect national security and public safety after 9/11 terrorists exploited immigration rules to gain entry into the United States.
The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks found that many of the 9/11 hijackers committed visa violations.
ICE identifies dangerous individuals before they enter our country and locates them as they violate our immigration laws.
The particulars of the White House’s arguments here are far less important than what releasing a point-by-point defense (albeit a very weak one) of ICE signifies: that the movement is seen as a genuine threat gaining steam, and one that’s worth responding to.