The Washington Times - Monday, August 20, 2018
President Trump lashed out at the Abolish ICE movement Monday and warned state and local leaders they must choose between anarchy or law and order as they pick sides in the fight.
He said those who continue to criticize U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and its sister agency, Customs and Border Protection, are inviting “terror, bloodshed and suffering” upon their communities. And he particularly blasted officials in Portland, Oregon, where ICE officers say the mayor ordered his police to stand down as anarchist protesters blockaded the agency’s building in June, endangering employees and shutting down work.
“I ask you to join me in publicly expressing your support for the men and women of ICE and CBP,” the president said in an open letter to governors, mayors, state legislators and other officials.
He is slated to hold an event at the White House later in the day thanking ICE and CBP employees for their efforts in the face of growing criticism from the left.
Immigrant-rights activists have called for ICE to be abolished, erroneously blaming it for the family separations that resulted from the chaos surrounding the administration’s zero tolerance border policy this spring.
Some Democratic politicians have joined the activists in their call — though party leaders have avoided going that far, saying instead that the agency needs reforms.
ICE handles detention and deportation of illegal immigrants, as well as cybersecurity, counterfeit merchandise and combating child pornography. No firm ideas have been offered for how those responsibilities would be restructured if ICE were to be abolished. The leading Democratic bill calls for a commission to study the matter.
Mr. Trump has seized on the calls, predicting they will hurt Democrats in November’s congressional elections.
In his letter Monday he asked state and local officials to write letters, issue public statements and otherwise “give voice to our nation’s longstanding tradition of honoring the public servants who protect our communities and our way of life.”
He also asked those states and localities who refuse full cooperation with federal immigration officials to rethink their stand.
And he expressed aversion to the anti-ICE demonstrations some communities have hosted.
“Innocent Americans have watched as organized agitators defaced public property, obstructed the execution of our laws, slandered law enforcement personnel, blocked civilian access to public spaces and created a hostile environment for our officers, agents and support personnel,” Mr. Trump wrote.
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