Sen. Kamala Harris may have impressed the fringe-left with her performance on Capitol Hill this week, but she angered many others who thought the California Democrat was way out of line. In a hearing to determine whether Ronald Vitiello would be confirmed as the next head of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Harris asked the nominee if he was aware of ICE’s reputation among some members of the public.
“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 [with the Ku Klux Klan]?” Harris asked.
The KKK comparison came into the conversation when Harris was questioning Vitiello about a tweet he wrote in 2015, in which he said the modern Democratic Party was a “neo-Klanist” organization. But when Vitiello apologized for the tweet and admitted that it was an offensive comparison, Harris used it as a jumping-off point to talk about ICE.
“I do not see any parallels,” Vitiello said.
“No, I’m very specific in what I’m asking you,” Harris argued. “Are you aware of a perception that the way that they–”
“I see none,” Vitiello said again.
“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.
“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,” Vitiello replied.
“Sir, how can you be the head of an agency and be unaware of how your agency is perceived by certain communities?” Harris asked.
What a ridiculous line of questioning. What does it matter? You could use this line of logic when it comes to literally every police department, every federal agency, and Congress itself. There is always SOME group or another than has some wacky “perception” about a government entity. What responsibility does that confer on the head of that entity? Any? Any at all? We submit that it does not.
“It seems to me that you would understand that when you use words like the words you used just three short years ago, that that would contribute to that perception. And it’s harmful then, it’s harmful in terms of the mission of the agency and the work of the individuals there. And it is harmful in terms of leading — innocent people arriving at our border fleeing harm, it is harmful to them.”
Oh, no, we don’t want to send a “harmful” message to illegal immigrants! That would be a terrible thing, coming from the head of an agency dedicated to deporting illegal immigrants back to their home countries.
Among the many who took offense to Harris’ remarks was GOP Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, who tweeted: “Kamala Harris is trying to launch her 2020 campaign off of comparing ICE officers to the KKK, and it’s absolutely disgusting.”
It is that. Furthermore, as far as we can tell from recent national polls, it’s woefully misguided as a political strategy.
But hey, who are we to give the Democrats any advice…