Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) believes abolishing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is best for America — and her political future.
Gillibrand, a likely 2020 contender for the Democratic presidential nomination, announced last week that she wants the agency tasked with enforcing immigration law eliminated.
“I believe that it has become a deportation force,” Gillibrand told CNN’s Chris Cuomo. “And I think you should separate out the criminal justice from the immigration issues.” (RELATED: Kirsten Gillibrand: First Senator To Call For ICE To Be Abolished)
The current border fight is revealing the Left’s radicalization over immigration. “Abolish ICE” is the hottest fad among leftists right now, so it makes perfect sense for an ambitious Democrat to make this cause her own.
Enforcement of immigration law draws Nazi comparisons, while the Left sees borders as inherently bigoted.
Gillibrand, a representative of the Democratic establishment, is trying to establish her credentials with the progressive base by adopting “Abolish ICE” as her own slogan.
She believes that the future of the party belongs to those marching and chanting for open borders.
Funny enough, she once held views that would have made Stephen Miller nod in approval.
As recently as 2009, Gillibrand was noted for her “tough stance on illegal immigration.”
“Ms. Gillibrand, a Democrat, opposed any sort of amnesty for illegal immigrants, supported deputizing local law enforcement officers to enforce federal immigration laws, spoke out against Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s proposal to allow illegal immigrants to have driver’s licenses and sought to make English the official language of the United States,” The New York Times reported in 2009. (RELATED: Dem Senator Calls For ICE To Be Abolished – Forgets What She Said About Illegal Immigrants In 2009)
Those stances would make Gillibrand a Nazi in the eyes of the Left today, especially the desire to make English our official language.
The radical change in the New York senator’s opinion reflects relentless political ambition and lack of principles — a toxic combination displayed by the last Democratic presidential nominee. Gillibrand was an immigration hawk when she represented a rural, conservative district. Now, she panders to the progressive base and establishment media with her calls to abolish ICE when she’s eying the White House.
But Gillibrand’s shift isn’t just unique to her; it reflects the Democratic Party’s radicalization as a whole. Ten years ago, there were plenty of Democrats, such as Kirsten herself, who were willing to buck the left-wing consensus on immigration. In 2007, several Democrats — including Jon Tester and Claire McCaskill — voted against amnesty. Even progressive hero Bernie Sanders was a no vote on that bill
But in 2013, every Democrat voted for the similar Gang of Eight amnesty. Sanders, who caucuses with the Democrats, has altered his stance on immigration — but not enough to please the leftist base. He voted for the 2013 amnesty, but still attacked open borders was a “Koch Brothers proposal” in 2015. Bernie also opposes the abolition of ICE, which has caused much consternation among his biggest fans.
The New Republic went so far as to argue Sanders no longer represents the Left with that opinion.
Establishmentarians like Gillibrand now better represent the Left when it comes to social issues than Mr. Socialist himself.
But it’s Sanders, not Gillibrand, who is closer to the American mainstream on immigration.
Nearly 70 percent of Americans oppose the elimination of immigration enforcement, according to the latest Harvard-Harris poll. Additionally, 64 percent of the country believes migrants who are caught crossing the border illegally should be sent back home, a position many liberals now see as fascist.
But this silent majority is likely to be ignored in the fawning press coverage and moral grandstanding of progressive activists. Gillibrand wants the positive press and woke credentials for 2020, regardless of how much she alienates average Americans.
It’s not like she has to appeal to that demographic in the Democratic primary.
Kirsten Gillibrand is one of the best barometers for the Democratic consensus. She’s deeply tied to the Democratic establishment and only changes her stances if it benefits her political ambitions. Her move to the far left on immigration reveals what she thinks will make her a more viable candidate in 2020.
And it doesn’t include any appeals to Middle America.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.