Jason Hopkins on September 19, 2019
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) acting Director Matthew Albence pushed back against Nazi comparisons made by liberal critics of the agency, noting that agents are simply enforcing the law.
“We’re not Nazis,” Albence said during an ABC News interview, a portion of which was published on Thursday. The acting director’s comments were in reference to numerous comparisons of ICE detention centers to concentration camps. Amid President Donald Trump’s crackdown on illegal immigration, more opponents of the administration have turned their ire on federal immigration authorities.
New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez first popularized the “concentration camp” comparison among progressives, although she claims the analogy did not necessarily pertain to Nazi Germany. However, liberal protest groups such as Never Again Action have since blatantly equated ICE to Nazism and continually demonstrate against the agency.
Some Democratic lawmakers have gone so far as to suggest that ICE should be abolished altogether, arguing that the agency is instilling “fear” into immigrant communities for their ongoing deportation raids.
As inflammatory rhetoric against the agency has increased, so have physical attacks.
A left-wing terrorist died in a shootout with police in July when he attempted to blow up an ICE detention center — a manifesto written by the man included an excerpt where he referred to detention centers as “concentration camps.” In the following month, an ICE office in San Antonio was shot at several times overnight, leaving shattered glass. FBI investigators determined that the shooting was coordinated, and not just a random act of violence.
The attacks have prompted acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan to direct Federal Protective Service to supply ICE facilities across the U.S. with enhanced security.
Albence blamed the concentration camp comparisons to the rise in violence against the agency.
“It’s [that kind of language] that results in people who may not be of sound mind doing things like shooting bullets into an ICE facility in San Antonio, Texas, almost hitting one of my agents. Or trying to blow up a detention facility and hurt the individuals there working, as well the detainees that are detained there,”Albence said.
In addition to the disparaging comparisons, ICE agents are also dealing with an increasing number of local law enforcement jurisdictions refusing to cooperate with them — a result of “sanctuary” laws being enacted by Demoratic-leaning politicians. Albence said such laws are a result of people putting politics above the safety of the community.
“Unfortunately the politics of this have gotten so bad that they would rather put these politics over public safety,” he said.