Democrat Senator Kamala Harris of California, a former prosecutor and attorney general no less, tweeted last year: “An undocumented immigrant is not a criminal.” She is wrong. Any alien who enters or attempts to enter the United States at any time or place other than as designated by immigration officers has committed an illegal act that carries criminal as well as civil penalties. It is no wonder that Senator Harris, who is considering a run for president in 2020, thinks that enforcement of U.S. immigration laws to ensure the security of the American people is somehow racist. Senator Harris displayed her utter contempt for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) during a congressional hearing last week. She used a confirmation hearing for President Trump’s nominee to head ICE, its current acting director Ronald Vitiello, to place ICE on the same level as the Ku Klux Klan.
Senator Harris began her exercise in moral equivalence by asking Mr. Vitiello about a joke he had made three years ago referring to the Democratic Party, with its pro-segregationist past, as “neo-Klan.” Mr. Vitiello said in response that his joke had been inappropriate. When Senator Harris asked Mr. Vitiello to explain why he thought so, Mr. Vitiello replied that the KKK was “a domestic terrorist group” which “tried to use fear and force to change the political environment” based on “race and ethnicity.” However, Senator Harris was not just looking for an apology. In a display of crass sophistry, she tried to create a false comparison. She badgered Mr. Vitiello with questions seeking to equate the legitimate fears and anxieties stirred in minority communities by the KKK, an abhorrent hate group that peddles in racism, with illegal aliens’ fears of being apprehended by a government agency fulfilling its obligation to enforce the nation’s immigration laws. In Senator Harris’s mind, clearly identifiable government officers following the law in stopping and detaining people who are not supposed to be in this country in the first place are as much to be legitimately feared as white-robed Klansmen with a history of lynching and shooting African-Americans, burning crosses, and firebombing African-American churches.
As Fox News Channel’s Jeanine Pirro said in her brilliant “Opening Statement” segment last Saturday night, which she addressed to Senator Harris: “What you are doing is planting seeds of fear, resistance and resentment against ICE among people who have no right to come here, who have already broken our laws to get here. And they’re scared? People should be afraid when they violate our laws. The people though who should be afraid are innocent Americans at risk in sanctuary cities and states where illegals who are also criminals are given safe haven.”
Mr. Vitiello, a prior Border Patrol chief with more than 30 years of experience working in law enforcement and protecting the American people, did not take Senator Harris’s bait:
“HARRIS: [talking over Vitiello] Are you aware that there’s a perception – are you aware that there’s a perception-
VITIELLO: I see no perception that puts ICE in the same category as the KKK. Is that what you’re asking me?
HARRIS: No, I’m very specific about what I’m asking you. Are you aware of a perception that the way that the discretion-
VITIELLO: [interrupting] I see no parallel.
HARRIS: I’m not finished.
VITIELLO: I see none.
HARRIS: I’m not finished. I’m not finished. 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-
HARRIS: [interrupting] But the perception exists, would you agree, whether or not it’s correct? And wouldn’t you agree then that if that perception exists, there might need to be some work done to correct the perception?
VITIELLO: I do want to advocate for the workforce that the vital public safety mission that they have to protect the homeland [sic], and I think more people need to know how valuable they are to the society, so I agree with you on that.”
Senator Harris does not agree that ICE’s workforce performs a “vital public safety mission” in protecting the homeland. Quite the opposite. She said last June that, when it comes to ICE, “we need to probably think about starting from scratch.” This Democrat senator from the sanctuary state of California declared that California “represents the future.” She said she would not second guess the decision of Oakland’s mayor to warn illegal immigrants of an impending ICE raid because she respected mayors’ “estimation of what’s in the best interest of their constituents.” Since when are illegal immigrants considered “constituents” of an elected official in the United States? Evidently, that is the direction Senator Harris would like to see for the whole country since she believes that California “represents the future.”
Last week Senator Harris introduced a bill that would weaken ICE’s ability to engage in civil immigration enforcement actions that her bill deemed to be “inappropriate.” Her bill would prohibit ICE from using information obtained from the Department of Health and Human Services regarding suspected illegal aliens who are proposed sponsors or custodians of unaccompanied alien children. The bill would also transfer millions of dollars appropriated for fiscal year 2019 that ICE is to use for enforcement and removal operations to other programs, including $180,000,000 “to the Office of Refugee Resettlement to provide the post-release legal, case management, and child advocate services.” Senator Harris also introduced the Detention Oversight Not Expansion (DONE) Act last May which, among other things, would halt funds for construction or expansion of new detention facilities. She has said that we must be “welcoming” to the migrant caravans, while also supporting the release into U.S. communities of unvetted immigrant families seeking asylum.
Senator Harris has written a book entitled “The Truths We Hold: An American Journey,” which is scheduled to be published in January 2019. She should ponder some simple but fundamental truths as she considers embarking on her own journey she hopes will take her to the White House. The United States is a nation of laws, which includes the nation’s immigration laws enacted by Congress, not ICE. The U.S. government’s duly constituted immigration officers enforce the laws that Congress has passed and kept in force against aliens entering or trying to enter the country illegally. ICE agents also combat human trafficking and the import and distribution of illegal drugs into the United States. ICE agents owe their allegiance to the people lawfully residing in the United States they are supposed to protect, not to illegal aliens who may pose a danger to law-abiding Americans.
Finally, Senator Harris should consider the question of fundamental fairness to those immigrants who have played by the rules. Why should aliens who want to jump the line and enter the United States illegally be welcomed to this country as much as those immigrants who have respected this country’s laws? When Senator Harris reminisces how her parents took her to civil rights marches as a child, she should also remember the example her parents set in emigrating to the United States the right way. She dishonors her parents’ example by giving cover to illegal aliens and hurling disgraceful insults at the brave law enforcement agents of ICE.