Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) not only compared Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to the Ku Klux Klan, but she tried to get the acting director, Ronald Vitiello, to agree with her.
During Vitiello’s hearing, Harris questioned him for statements he had made in which he called the Democratic Party “neo-Klanist.” Vitiello apologized for the comments and said that he was wrong to make the comparison to the KKK, but that wasn’t enough for Harris.
She wanted him to make the same comparison about the organization he leads, asking him if there is a parallel between the perception that ICE terrorizes Latino families in the same way the KKK tormented black Americans.
Watch the video below:
Democrat Senator Kamala Harris compares ICE to the KKK and appears to suggest that they are a terrorist group during a Senate hearing to consider the nomination of Ronald Vitello to be the director of ICE.
51% of ICE agents were Hispanic or Latino at the end of fiscal year 2016. pic.twitter.com/3coo3hljET
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) November 15, 2018
VITIELLO: The Klan was — what we would call today — a domestic terrorist group.
HARRIS: Why would we call them a domestic terrorist group?
VITIELLO: Because they tried to use fear and force to change the political environment.
HARRIS: And what was the motivation for the use of fear and force?
VITIELLO: It was based on race and ethnicity.
HARRIS: Right. Are you aware of the perception of many about how the power and the discretion at ICE is being used to enforce the laws, and do you see any parallels?
VITIELLO: I do not see any parallels between sworn officers and agents…
HARRIS: I’m talking about perception. Are you aware that there’s a perception?
VITIELLO: I do not see a parallel between what is constitutionally mandated, as it relates to enforcing the law, protecting people’s rights — I see no perception that puts ICE in the same category as the KKK.
Harris doubled down on the accusation that ICE uses the same tactics as the KKK to enforce the law, despite Vitiello’s denials. The senator tried to corner Vitiello into admitting that he had to correct the agency’s reputation.
Vitiello agreed that the reputation needed to be corrected, but it probably wasn’t what Harris had in mind.
Watch the video below:
Kamala Harris is trying to launch her 2020 campaign off of comparing ICE officers to the KKK, and it's absolutely disgusting. pic.twitter.com/l6DrpbbQ2k
— Ronna McDaniel (@GOPChairwoman) November 15, 2018
HARRIS: Are you aware that there’s a perception that ICE is administering its power in a way that is causing fear and intimidation, particularly among immigrants and specifically among immigrants coming from Mexico and Central America? Are you aware of that perception?
VITIELLO: I do not see a parallel between the power and the authority that ICE has to do its job and the agents and officers who do it professionally and excellently with lots of compassion…
HARRIS: Sir, how can you be the head of an agency and be unaware of how your agency is perceived by certain communities?
VITIELLO: There’s a lot of perceptions in the media and in the public that are incorrect about the agency and what it does.
HARRIS: But the perception exists, would you agree? Whether or not it’s correct. And wouldn’t you agree, then, that if that perception exists, there might need to be some work done to correct the perception.
VITIELLO: I do want to advocate for the workforce that the vital public safety mission that they have to protect the homeland, and I think more people need to know how valuable they are to the society.
Although Vitiello held his own in the argument, many still took to Twitter to slam Harris for trying to draw a parallel between ICE and the KKK. Some hope that this will impact her chances at becoming the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate.
UPDATE to my rundown of the Democrat’s 2020 candidates:
➡️Michael Avenatti: arrested for felony domestic violence
➡️Hillary Clinton: still corrupt
➡️Elizabeth Warren: 1/1024 honest about her heritage
➡️Kamala Harris: compared ICE officers to the KKK pic.twitter.com/mn5NcT3NZW
— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) November 15, 2018
"I'm not finished, I'm not finished, I'm not finished" – @SenKamalaHarris
Your 2020 chances are finished, Senator https://t.co/0pSmBsAEkg
— Cameron Gray (@Cameron_Gray) November 15, 2018
Immigration enforcement is already a divisive issue, but it appears that Harris sees no reason to turn down the rhetoric about law enforcement.