Last weekend the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement service was slated to launch “raids” in 10 major cities to track down illegal immigrants.

As with so many other matters, Democrats reacted to this Trump administration initiative with the calm, rational response we’ve come to expect from them over the last 30 months. For example, Sen. Kamala Harris, a Democratic presidential contender, called the supposed round-up a “crime against humanity.”

The din the raids caused in the national media likely obscured the reason for ICE’s aggressive pursuit of these folks: Acting Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Mark Morgan explained that officers were targeting people who entered the country illegally and then proceeded to commit other crimes, or those who had received due process for a previous arrest and had been ordered out of the country by a judge.

Harris’ reaction — suggesting ICE’s enforcement is something akin to the Holocaust or the Rwandan genocide — seems a little over the top. But her comment is instructive, as were the announcements by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, another Democratic presidential candidate, and Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who were publicly advising illegal immigrants to not cooperate with ICE agents.

These remarks show how radical Democratic leaders, including many who want to be the White House’s next occupant, have become on illegal immigration.

Democrats have long opposed President Donald Trump’s plan to build a wall across the southern border and only recently relented in opposing nearly $5 billion in aid for the Border Patrol to enhance detention facilities there.

They also have denounced the administration’s crackdown on asylum-seekers, even though the bulk of people seeking asylum have avoided the standard process of requesting that from a neighboring country and seek entry into the U.S. without a valid reason, such as political persecution.

Additionally, many Democrats have called for abolishing ICE as Trump has pushed tougher enforcement of immigration laws.

Most of the party’s presidential candidates, as demonstrated during debates in Miami last month, support providing taxpayer-funded health care for illegal immigrants as part of their health-care plans.

Last month House Democrats, with a handful of Republicans joining them, passed a bill that essentially grants amnesty to the “Dreamers,” or the people who were brought here illegally as children. Trump has said he will support a way to keep them in the country.

We also have backed that idea because these 700,000 or so people unlawfully entered the U.S. through no fault of their own and in essence know only America as their home. But the bill would expand the amnesty by including those who had been rejected for the Dreamers program and cover people who were allowed temporary entry into America because of some disaster in their homeland, but who opted to stay for years, sometimes decades.

Now, Democrats are denouncing ICE for removing criminals from our midst. If that’s truly their vision for America, then it won’t be just hyperbole to call the 2020 election the most important of our lives.

 

This editorial originally appeared in the Lakeland Ledger.