In 1775, the English writer Samuel Johnson famously declared, “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.” While commonly misinterpreted as a condemnation of love for country, the words were actually meant to condemn those who hide behind false patriotism for self-interested reasons.
The same sentiment can be applied to modern-day progressives who seem to defy their true instincts by proclaiming their support for law and order. With midterm elections looming and the American public angered by numerous and avoidable crises, the Biden Administration is having the political equivalent of a deathbed conversion to embrace law enforcement. Don’t fall for it.
This behavior was recently on display when the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas publicly urged city leaders to cooperate with his agency as part of the administration’s purported commitment to immigration enforcement.
For the uninitiated, Mayorkas is essentially an anti-borders activist who has been masquerading as the head of the federal government’s biggest law enforcement agency for the past year. Any benefit of the doubt for his immigration enforcement push should be withheld from him on the basis of the statements in his appeal.
“What I want to communicate to you is that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ICE, the agency of today and what it is focused upon and what it is doing, is not the agency of the past,” Mayorkas said. “We are not engaged in indiscriminate enforcement, but we are focused on making our communities safe.”
Aside from its obligatory attack on Donald Trump, Mayorkas’ statement was loaded with reassurances to the America-without-borders crowd that has been pushing for the abolition of ICE for years. Rather than using the blunt instrument of shutting down ICE, the White House instead has chosen the more covert but no less effective option to change ICE from within, to pervert its mission and hope no one notices.
Mayorkas accuses the Trump-era ICE of “indiscriminate enforcement,” but the reality is something different. Of the 267,258 aliens ICE removed in fiscal year 2019, 91 percent of those initially arrested in the interior United States and subsequently removed had criminal convictions or pending criminal charges at the time of arrest. It seems that ICE in 2019 was doing exactly what it should do: target dangerous criminal aliens and remove them from communities to increase public safety. How exactly is Mayorkas’ “focused” approach going to do the job more effectively?
As part of his crackdown on crime, Mayorkas is encouraging communities to participate in the 287(g) program, which establishes agreements between ICE and local law enforcement for the detainment and transfer of criminal aliens for possible removal from the country.
The irony of Mayorkas’ appeal is thick, given that the anti-borders Left has vilified the 287(g) program for years and pressured communities not to participate in it. While activists claim the program terrorizes immigrant communities, again, the results tell another story.
There is a healthy body of evidence that the pre-Biden 287(g) program was effective. An Immigration Reform Law Institute investigation last year focused on North Carolina’s Mecklenburg and Wake counties. Those communities participated in 287(g) until woke candidates for sheriff in each county pledged to end the program if elected. Thanks to generous financial support from the American Civil Liberties Union, both candidates won and terminated the programs.
In the first year without 287(g), Mecklenburg saw a rise in every violent crime category—including murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault. While there was not an increase in every violent crime category, Wake County also saw a rise in overall violent crime.
If Mayorkas is now lobbying for the 287(g) program, we can be certain that it will not be the same program that kept communities safe. Much like his internal destruction of ICE, Mayorkas will gut 287(g) so it exists in name only.
Faced with political pressure and criticism from all sides, Biden is acting the scoundrel in an attempt to get credit for being all things to all people. He will publicly support hollowed-out, Potemkin agencies and programs to paint himself as a proponent of aggressive law enforcement. This is done with a wink and a nod to anti-borders activists to let them know that the flow of foreign nationals entering and remaining in the country will continue. We should not let him succeed in this duplicity.