News

Immigration

Kamala Harris Draws Parallels between ICE and the KKK

Senator Kamala Harris speaks at a Polk County Democrats event in Des Moines, Iowa, October 22, 2018. (KC McGinnis/Reuters )

Senator Kamala Harris of California on Thursday compared contemporary public perceptions of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to the way in which the American public perceived the Ku Klux Klan in the early part of the 20th century.

Harris, a staunch advocate of more permissive immigration policy, made the comparison while questioning Ronald Vitiello, President Trump’s nominee to lead ICE, during his confirmation hearing. She began the line of questioning by citing Vitiello’s use of the term “neo-Klanist” in a 2015 tweet, which he applied to Democrats in order to highlight the party’s role in advancing segregationist policies during the 19th and 20th centuries. She then sought to apply Vitiello’s characterization of twentieth century Democrats to the agency he has been nominated to lead.

“Are you aware of the perception of many about how the power and the discretion at ICE is being used to enforce the laws and do you see any parallels?” she asked.

“I do not see any parallels,” Vitiello interjected. “That puts ICE in the same category as the KKK. Is that what you’re asking me?”

“No, I’m very specific in what I’m asking you. Are you aware of a perception that the way that they . . .” Harris continued, before Vitiello interjected. “I see none,” he said.

“Are you aware that there is a perception that ICE is administering its power in a way that is causing fear and intimidation, particularly among immigrants and specifically among immigrants coming from Mexico and Central America?” she asked.

A number of prominent Democrats have called for the abolition of ICE in the wake of the Trump administration’s application of a zero-tolerance immigration-enforcement policy, which resulted in the separation of some 2,000 minors from their parents at the border in June. While Harris has stopped short of joining Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.) and her allies in the House in calling for the agency’s abolition, she has pushed for sweeping changes to the agency.

Update 2:50p.m.: RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel called Harris’s comments “disgusting” in a Thursday afternoon tweet.

Most Popular

White House

Trump and the ‘Racist Tweets’

What does “racist” even mean anymore? Racism is the headline on President Trump’s Sunday tweets -- the media-Democrat complex assiduously describes them as “racist tweets” as if that were a fact rather than a trope. I don’t think they were racist; I think they were abjectly stupid. Like many ... Read More
White House

The Trump Steamroller

As we settle into high summer and the period of maximum difficulty in finding anything to fill in hours of television news, especially 24/7 news television, two well-established political trends are emerging in this pre-electoral period: The president’s opponents continue to dig themselves into foxholes that ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Ilhan Omar Is Completely Assimilated

Beto O’Rourke, the losing Texas Senate candidate who bootstrapped his way into becoming a losing presidential candidate, had a message for refugees who had come to America: Your new country is a hellhole. The former congressman told a roundtable of refugees and immigrants in Nashville, Tenn., last week: ... Read More
Sports

We All Wanted to Love the Women’s Soccer Team

For the first time in my life, I did not root for an American team. Whatever the sport, I have always rooted American. And if those who called in to my radio show were representative of my audience, many millions of Americans made the same sad choice. It takes a lot for people like me not to root for an ... Read More
U.S.

The ‘Squad’ Gives a Gift to Donald Trump

On Sunday, Donald Trump gave the Democrats a gift -- comments that indicate he thinks native-born congresswomen he detests should “go back” to the countries of their ancestors. On Monday, the four congresswomen handed Trump a gift in return, managing to respond to the president’s insults in some of the most ... Read More