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Frank Sharry: White House Pep Rally for ICE and CBP All About “Divide and Distract” Political Strategy

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Today, the White House will host a “celebration” for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents, against the backdrop of the cruel and unresolved family separation crisis that implicates both agencies.

Last week, we offered a brief primer on the litany of abuses at ICE and CBP that show why these agencies are in desperate need of more accountability and reform. Just this past weekend provided fresh evidence of how out of control these two paramilitary agencies are — including widespread condemnation of ICE for arresting a husband who was taking his wife to the hospital to give birth; a major new investigative piece that revealed CBP’s invasive body searches of women; and a blistering opinion piece by Richard Parker in the Los Angeles Times citing CBP’s culture of corruption and abuse as reasons the agency should be reformed or eliminated.

So why is the White House focusing on ICE and CBP? Because xenophobia is central to their “divide and distract” midterm political strategy.

The following is a statement from Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:

Today’s White House pep rally for ICE and CBP agents captures the Trump and GOP midterm strategy — try to inject race, immigration, and “us vs. them” at any opportunity in desperate hopes that it can keep the focus off the Republican record on kitchen table issues that matter to most Americans.

ICE and CBP desperately are complicit in some of the worst moments of this administration. These two agencies took the lead in ripping of babies away from their parents, doing so without a system to reunite them, and then deporting many of the parents. Currently, 565 kids remain traumatized and in federal custody, away from their parents. These agencies are in desperate need of accountability and reform, not celebration and commendation.

President Trump, egged on by advisors such as Stephen Miller, is desperately hoping to make the midterms a referendum on immigration and to suck energy and attention away from the fact that Republicans control all the branches of government and have managed to wreck healthcare, defund education, and pass a massive tax cut that lines the pockets of their donors while doing nothing to increase the wages of most workers.

So, today, as agents slap backs and Trump bellows his support, remember the traumatized kids in federal custody, remember their distraught parents in Central America, and remember this show is part of a cruel and cynical strategy aimed at keeping the GOP in power.