Unhinged Twitter sprees from President Donald Trump can, at this point, be more or less considered business as usual.
But on Saturday, Trump brought a new kind of Twitter rant into the universe. This one came in the form of a vlog-style video in which Trump addressed the camera head-on to pledge his support for Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE).
“One of the critical lessons of 9/11 is that immigration enforcement saves lives,” he said in the clip. “We must enforce the rules against visa fraud, illegal overstay, illegal entry, and other immigration violations and crimes, and crimes they are. Believe me, crimes they are.”
He also condemned Democrats who have called to abolish ICE, saying that those who would like to do so are asking for “open borders and more crime” and hailed ICE officers as heroes.
“Without the brave heroes of ICE, we would have no enforcement, no borders, no laws, we wouldn’t even have a country,” Trump said.
That statement does not exactly check out. ICE has only existed since the early 2000s, so saying that the country cannot exist without it is not true. There was an immigration system in place before ICE existed that is capable of tracking visas, illegal overstay, illegal entry, and deportations — all of which Trump cited as being core duties of ICE. Besides, many of the Democrats who have called to abolish ICE have suggested putting different systems in place, rather than abolishing any immigration system entirely.
“President Trump seems to think that the only way to have immigration rules is to rip parents from their children, treat rape victims and refugees like terrorists, and put children in cages,” Senator Elizabeth Warren said on Facebook last month. “This is ugly, it is wrong, and it is not the way to run our country. The President’s deeply immoral actions have made it obvious that we need to rebuild our immigration system from top to bottom, starting by replacing ICE with something that reflects our values.”
Then, of course, there is the fact that ICE is the organisation that has been separating migrant children from their parents — many of whom have yet to be reunited, despite the administration’s requirement to do so by 27th July. Because of this, it is undeniable that many lives have already been lost and irrevocably destroyed by the organisation. Saying that ICE saves lives, then, is an affront to the people who are still waiting to see their children again, and to those who may never see their families again.
So, whether Trump will use Twitter in this way more often moving forward is anyone’s guess. But, no matter what, at least one thing is pretty clear — his video probably won’t do too much to discourage anyone who has ever called to abolish ICE.