Top ICE Official Rushes to Clarify 'We're Not Nazis'

Photo: Andrew Harnik (AP)

A good rule of thumb in politics—and in life, really— is that if you find yourself trying to explain the ways in which your militarized, racist wing of the government is not a prime example of fascism, you’ve probably already lost.

It’s with this maxim in mind that I present to you Acting ICE Director Matthew Albence, who spoke with ABC News on Thursday to defend his organization with a rallying cry of “we’re not Nazis.”

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Wow, nothing to really buck up the public perception of a federal agency that conducts sweeping mass arrests, facilitates questionable deportations and locks migrants in what Albence has previously called “a summer camp,” quite like saying, Hey, at least we’re not literally goose-stepping, sieg heil-ing, strudel-eating members of Germany’s National Socialist Party, right?

Undercutting Albence’s “we’re not Nazis” argument a bit was the fact that at one point, he trotted out the classic post-World War II trope of “we were just following orders, telling ABC that his agents are “enforcing these laws to the best of their ability,” which may be true, but doesn’t actually matter what the laws themselves—and the administration behind them—are the problem.

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About the author

Rafi Schwartz

Senior writer. When in doubt he'll have the soup.