U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement drew a stinging rebuke from Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York after it saluted the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
As is customary of many federal agencies, ICE marked the Monday holiday in King’s honor with a tweet that read, “Today we honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s message of hope, justice and equality.”
The agency also posted a quote from King that read, “The time is always right to do what is right.”
But Ocasio-Cortez could not allow the agency she has battled endlessly honor King without a rebuttal.
“Abolish ICE,” she tweeted.
Abolish ICE. https://t.co/h4zIbesjRe
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) January 18, 2021
Fellow progressive Democrat Rashida Tlaib of Michigan shared a similar sentiment, tweeting, “#AbolishICE.”
— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) January 18, 2021
Texas Democratic Rep. Julian Castro, meanwhile, told ICE, “You should sit this one out.”
You should sit this one out. https://t.co/IqKzNLfHyW
— Julián Castro (@JulianCastro) January 18, 2021
Ocasio-Cortez was advised recently by King’s niece, Alveda King, to learn from her uncle.
“I believe that AOC really should take a page out of Martin Luther King Jr.’s book,” she told Fox News.
She noted that the civil rights leader “said that the law cannot transform the human heart.”
“There are laws on the books now that will severely punish white supremacists, and that should be the case,” Alveda King explained. “We know that white supremacy is wrong, it must be punished, but every crime against humanity is bad and so we have to protect human dignity, but not only with the law. We have to transform these hearts.”
As Democrats prepare to control the House, Senate and White House, some think it is time for major shifts to the left.
“Progressives see the Georgia result as an opportunity to go for the jugular,” Democratic strategist Joel Payne told The Daily Beast.
“30,000-foot: the ceiling is now way higher for what’s possible on every progressive issue,” said Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee.
But some say hopes that progressives can get their way are overstating the case, particularly when it comes to ICE.
“Biden is not going to abolish ICE because he’s an institutionalist who will focus on depoliticizing government agencies that became extensions of the Trump administration’s policymaking apparatus,” Cris Ramon, an immigration policy consultant, told the Washington Examiner.
In December, a Biden transition official told CBS News that Biden will pursue a “sensible approach” on the issue of immigration arrests.
During Biden’s time as vice president, ICE focused on deporting illegal immigrants with criminal convictions, and illegal immigrants who repeatedly entered the country after deportation.
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