Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris of California asked a Trump immigration nominee if he sees parallels between Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the KKK during a hearing meeting on Thursday.
The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee was considering the nomination of Ronald Vitiello to be assistant Homeland Security secretary for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Harris began her questioning by asking Vitiello about a tweet he sent in 2015 from a personal account where he suggested a new name for the Democratic Party should be “liberalcratic party or the NeoKlanist party.”
He repudiated the tweet, acknowledging the Klan’s history of race-based domestic terrorism. Harris then asked if she saw any parallel with the work of ICE.
“I see no perception that puts ICE in the same category as the KKK,” Vitiello replied.
Harris asked again, “Are you aware that there’s a perception that, 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?”
Vitiello again categorically shut down Harris’ insinuation. (RELATED: Migrant Caravan Resumes Push To US Border)
“How can you be the head of an agency and be unaware of how your agency is perceived by certain communities?” she retorted.
Vitiello said there are “a lot of perceptions in the media and in the public that are incorrect.”
Harris’ comments come as a migrant caravan approaches the southern U.S. border.