The far-left has started a campaign to heckle government officials throughout the country — something I’ve recently experienced first-hand. The self-described socialists who confronted me proudly admitted that they are not concerned with persuasion or having a discussion about public policy. They are only interested in intimidation.
I’ve dealt with criticism before. It’s a part of holding elected office and to be expected as Senate Majority Leader. But I don’t know what about my career has given these socialist extremists the idea I will be intimidated by them. My office wall is covered with political cartoons — many from this paper — skewering me. I have stood up to the fringe-left my entire career, and I am proud to continue to do so.
By definition, a socialist forcibly denies an individual’s rights, property, and the money in his or her wallet in favor of the group. These ideas have failed every time, and the twentieth century is filled with their results: horrific poverty, countless deaths, and a complete loss of personal freedom. Socialism is an idea the overwhelming majority of Kentuckians find ludicrous.
Now it seems these socialist groups are adding new and dangerous immigration proposals to their already terrible economic policies. In particular, they are calling to abolish the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). ICE was established after 9/11 to protect our homeland. The law enforcement agency’s brave men and women defend this country and our citizens every single day against criminal aliens, drug cartels, gang members and sex traffickers.
The danger to our families and our vulnerable communities is very real. In a single 12-month period, ICE seized nearly one million pounds of narcotics, arrested individuals accused of more than 5,000 sex crimes and captured more than 4,000 suspected gang members. Clearly, ICE continues to serve a critical function for our national security. Its brave agents deserve our respect. I strongly support ICE as part of our commitment to public safety and to a legal system of immigration.
So then why is the radical-left howling to tear down this organization?
Their complaints are about more than the separation of families at the border. That’s something the administration has moved to address.
Instead, their calls to “Abolish ICE” have a troubling motive: to no longer enforce our immigration laws and thereby open our national borders.
If these self-described socialists had their way, we would have no immigration laws and our borders would be meaningless. The result would effectively erase our national boundaries and destroy the principles of law and order. Our state and local law enforcement system would lack the resources to effectively prevent terrorists and criminals from walking into our country to commit heinous crimes against our families. Put simply: without borders, there can be no security.
While the radical left might think their “Abolish ICE” slogan looks good on a bumper sticker or homemade sign, the real-world consequences of doing away with this law enforcement agency certainly doesn’t make sense to Kentucky families who value the importance of security at our borders. So instead of articulating the practical effects of their radical beliefs, they are attempting to intimidate public officials and to denigrate the integrity of our nation’s law enforcement officers. They stage ridiculous scenes to get media attention and advance their socialist propaganda. But we must remember that the policies they are proposing threaten every neighborhood in America.
Perhaps even more alarming is that what was once a fringe idea has become mainstream in the modern Democratic Party. It’s even found powerful allies among potential candidates for president in 2020. Multiple Democratic members of the U.S. Senate, including Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, have turned their back on these brave law enforcement officers and called for the end of ICE. That would give a free pass to more gangs and criminals who enter our country illegally, like the one who murdered Kate Steinle in California.
As an avid supporter of the First Amendment, I fully believe everyone has the right to peacefully protest and to express their opinions. But that won’t stop me from defending the views of the vast majority of Kentuckians who want reasonable and effective border security. A recent poll showed a majority of Americans support our case in defense of law enforcement — only 25 percent believe we should abolish ICE. I’ve heard from the men and women of Kentucky, and they continue to support the law enforcement officials who put their lives at risk to defend our great nation.
As Senate Majority Leader, I will continue to stand against socialists and the extreme-left who yell to “Abolish ICE.” I will fight for a safe and secure America, one with strong borders and strong law enforcement to protect our children from cartels, traffickers and gangs. And like you, I will not be intimidated.
Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, is the Senator Majority Leader.
Kentucky Today’s Perspectives section provides a public forum for our readers to express their views on issues of importance. The opinions expressed are those of the writer and should not be construed as an official position taken by this newspaper. We encourage you to join in the conversation by sending your essays to firstname.lastname@example.org. We reserve the right to reject submissions deemed inappropriate.