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November 20 2018

No Kamala Harris, ICE and the KKK are Not the Same

by Patrice Lee Onwuka

Democratic California Senator Kamala Harris is setting a new low for racial division by suggesting that immigration law enforcement is perceived as akin to the most dangerous U.S. hate groups in American history.

Harris is no fan of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Although she hasn’t gone as far as others on the left that want to abolish it, she maintains it needs to be “re-examined”- - whatever that means.

Recently, Harris crossed the line during Senate confirmation hearing of President Trump’s nominee to lead the agency, Ronald Vitiello. While grilling Vitiello she questioned how he would turn around the agency’s perception as being a modern-day Klu Klux Klan.

Not only was her assertion incendiary and damaging to an important agency that protects ALL Americans within our borders, but she’s historically inaccurate.

Senator Harris rightly asked Vitiello about his past comments describing the Democratic party as “NeoKlanist.” He apologized for the comments, but she used it as an open door to paint ICE as the true Klan of today.

Here’s some of the contentious exchange:

HARRIS: ... Are you aware that there’s 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? Are you aware of that perception?

VITIELLO: I do not see a parallel between the power and the authority that ICE has to do its job and the agents and officers who do it professionally and excellently with lots of compassion-

HARRIS: [interrupting] Sir, how can you be the head of an agency and be unaware of how your agency is perceived by certain communities?

VITIELLO: There’s a lot of perceptions in the media and in the public that are incorrect about the agency and what it does-

So, according to Senator Harris, by enforcing federal law, ICE is a homegrown terrorist group? What an ironic statement coming from a former prosecutor and current federal lawmaker.

Harris may not agree with immigration enforcement, but she has no right to add to the negative perceptions that this agency is inflicting terror and violence against illegal immigrants and lawbreakers.

It’s because of prominent people on the left like Harris, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand that many communities falsely view this agency the way they do.

It’s irresponsible for them not to correct the record on ICE. There are some critical differences between ICE and the KKK:

  • ICE is an arm of the law and government. The KKK was a private association. Numbered among its members may have been law enforcement, but this was not a state-sponsored association.
  • The KKK used the cover of darkness and their white sheets to commit common crimes such as assault, robbery, rape, arson or murder. ICE is not committing crimes but trying to catch criminals and halt future illegal activity.
  • In some states like Tennessee and the Carolinas, the Klan set up their own de facto governments that state officials found to be out of their own control. ICE is under the supervision of Homeland Security and funded by our federal tax dollars. 
  • The Klan pursued blacks, Jews, and immigrants - people who had every right to live, work, and worship in their communities. ICE pursues lawbreakers.

Let’s be clear: Deportation is not lynching. Confiscation of illegal weapons and drugs is not robbery. Destroying illegal and harmful drugs is not burning crosses. Fighting sex and human trafficking is not rape and kidnapping.

Comparing ICE enforcement practices to hooded night raids makes for a stirring image, but is harmful to legitimate efforts to protect the people of our nation -- citizens and immigrants alike.

Some are suggesting that Senator Harris was launching her 2020 presidential campaign with this line of questioning. However, how can she contend to be leader of all Americans when she’s using such irresponsible language to denigrate an institution erected to protect Americans?

Also read:

Another Reason to Keep ICE: The Arrest of Another Nazi War Criminal on US Soil



Independent Women's Forum is an educational 501(c)(3) dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities. IWF is the sister organization of the Independent Women’s Voice.​
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