Denny Heck Voted Yes to ICE Without Demanding Reform, Tamborine Borrelli Says Abolish ICE,
Medium, July 5 2018, by Jeff Sowers
Denny Heck says he shares our outrage about the family separation policy. But just last summer Heck, along with most Democrats in Congress, voted to reauthorize ICE without demanding reforms at a time when Trump’s deportation machine was already well underway and reports of abuse by ICE had been coming out for years(though not yet family separation). Progressives include Pramila Jayapal, Barbara Lee, Maxine Waters, Keith Ellison, and Raul Grijalva voted no. Also unlike these progressive leaders, Heck refuses to support the Justice is not for Sale Act to abolish private prisons at a time when tens of thousands of immigrants are locked up under harsh conditions in private federal immigration prisons, like the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma.
Even more disturbing is the fact that these policies, including the “quota law” that requires the federal government keep at least 34,000 immigrants locked up every day, are being pushed by big corporations and their investors seeking to make money from the mass incarceration of immigrants(and American citizens); the same companies who are among Heck’s biggest campaign financiers. “It’s a money making scheme,” say representative Grijalva from Arizona. “It’s about the bottom line. The more detention beds that are filled, the more people who are incarcerated, the more money they make.” When Representative Adam Smith(WA-9) introduced a bill to eliminate the quota law(after witnessing the shocking conditions at the Tacoma facility), Heck did not bother to cosponsor the bill.
Trump has taken the abuse of undocumented immigrants to a whole new level, but widespread abuse is not new. A recently released report by the ACLUbased on 30,000 documents released between 2009–2014 “show the pervasive abuse and neglect of unaccompanied immigrant children detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection…, and provide a glimpse into a federal immigration enforcement system marked by brutality and lawlessness.”
The Democrats in Congress like Heck who take loads of corporate money and then repeatedly vote yes to our human rights violating immigration system laid the groundwork for Trump’s current policies. And then they signed off on it again just last summer. They must be held to account.
This is not the America that most people want. The majority of us want a reasonable and humane immigration system that respects human rights. The majority of us want to reduce the number of people locked up in prison and jail. And the majority of us don’t want corporate money manipulating campaigns and corrupting our political system. And because the majority want these things, we can have them if enough of us get behind political leaders not tied to corporate money who will really fight for it.
Fortunately in the 10th Congressional District primary election this year we have a progressive independent candidate, Tamborine Borrelli, who is standing up to corporate power and fighting for the common sense social reforms that most of us want. She is taking no corporate money, and her platform is aligned with the platform of the Thurston County Democrats and the Washington State Democratic Party. She is running on a set of bold, yet practical progressive policies that the majority of voters in our District want, like Medicare for All, free college tuition for middle and lower income families, family and medical leave for all workers, and serious immigration and criminal justice reform. This includes a call to abolish ICE as part of comprehensive immigration reform that establishes a reasonable and humane immigration system. With enough support to get her message to voters, Tamborine can win.