Dem candidate’s support for abolish ICE movement is ‘disgraceful,’ former immigration official says

EXCLUSIVE: A former acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) director, who served during the final days of President Trump’s tenure in the White House, is warning of the danger some congressional Democratic candidates pose to the agency’s mission of securing America’s borders and protecting United States citizens.

Several Democrats running for office in states around the country have come under fire for their views on immigration and how they believe issues at the southern border should be handled as border patrol agents continue to be overwhelmed by large influxes of illegal migrants. 

One Democratic Senate candidate in particular, Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, who is seeking to unseat incumbent GOP Sen. Ron Johnson in the Badger State’s Nov. 8 midterm election, has liked numerous tweets that called for ICE to be abolished and criticized the agency. Similarly, in 2019, Barnes told the Wisconsin-based immigration group Voces de la Frontera Action that the “wrong ICE is melting.”

In an interview with Fox News Digital, Jonathan Fahey, a former deputy assistant secretary for the Department of Homeland Security who later served as the acting director of ICE from December 2020 to January 2021, reacted to the rhetoric from Barnes and considered it to be detrimental to ICE’s mission to provide safety for Americans.


“It’s kind of interesting how he’s trying to walk this back now because he’s running for election, trying to center himself to the middle,” Fahey said of Barnes. “He was associated with groups, liked tweets and other stuff to show that he wanted ICE abolished and it’s really just anti-ICE. He and others have been on this crusade to just take down ICE, demonize ICE agents in every single respect by calling them racists, delegitimizing what they’re doing, and treating them like they’re doing something heavy-handed, unlawful, when they’re simply just doing their job, trying to keep our communities safe and our country safe.… It really is disgraceful.”

Former acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) director Jonathan Fahey speaks to Fox News Digital.
(Fox News Digital)

“I think that the real issue is if he gets elected – or anyone like him – he’s going to be a rubber stamp for the Biden open borders policy,” Fahey added. “So if he and other officials get elected, the open borders policy is certainly going to continue, overdoses are certainly going to go up, [and] other things like health care, education, the resources for those will be lessened for United States citizens.”

Fahey also discussed the impact some Democratic rhetoric has had on the agents who are working to control the situation at the southern border, concluding that it is “extremely demoralizing for them.”

“These are people that take an oath, these agents, to uphold the law, to uphold the Constitution,” he said. “When they try to do so, they’re demonized, they’re called racists, they’re called the most vile names. So it affects them so much just in terms of morale.”

The thing that’s also really important that I don’t think gets mentioned enough is it exposes them to danger,” he added. “If you’re telling the public that what they’re doing is illegitimate and the people doing it are racist, then the people aren’t going to respect their authority, and it puts these agents in far greater danger than they already are because they’re already in a dangerous job.… To lie about the agents, to lie about their mission, to lie about what they’ve been doing is not only a disservice it’s an absolute disgrace that they’re doing that.”

Migrants attempting to cross from Mexico are detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection at the border, Aug. 20, 2022 in San Luis, Arizona.

Migrants attempting to cross from Mexico are detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection at the border, Aug. 20, 2022 in San Luis, Arizona.
(Nick Ut/Getty Images)

Fahey said Democrats have resorted to using “these tricks and these games” in an attempt to convey that the agents are not upholding their duties because “they know the American public don’t support” their position on the issue.

“If ICE is abolished, then you have people that come here and commit serious crimes, there’s no mechanism to remove them,” Fahey explained. “Once they are here, they can’t get removed, even if they commit the most serious crime, which incidentally, this administration doesn’t even want to remove people that are committing the most serious crimes.”

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, according to Fahey, “wanted to implement this full open borders policy” from the very beginning and is “putting the American public at risk” to do so.


“In a lot of ways, he’s the most successful member of this administration because his job isn’t to enforce the law the way they see it,” Fahey said of Mayorkas. “His job was to open this border and to not enforce the law. So he should get an A+ and he’ll get a big holiday ham or something this Christmas for the work he did, but in terms of what he was supposed to do and the oath that he took to enforce the law, to enforce the Constitution, or to uphold the Constitution, has been absolutely disastrous.”

“All he has done is undermined his own agents – both ICE agents, Border Patrol agents – and at every turn, putting them at risk, putting the American public at risk to implement his open borders policy,” he added.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas testifies before the House Judiciary Committee, on Capitol Hill, April 28, 2022.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas testifies before the House Judiciary Committee, on Capitol Hill, April 28, 2022.
(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

In regard to Mayorkas’ job performance, Fahey said there was a flaw in messaging from the administration and Democrats related to asylum seekers.

“One of the great false narratives they push, which is quite interesting, is [Mayorkas] is always referring to these people as asylum seekers,” he said. “He knows that they are fraudulently claiming asylum, but he attempts to make them seem legitimate, or most of them are. If they’re legitimate asylum seekers, they should be given asylum if they’re entitled to it.”

“But the interesting thing about it, if we have millions and millions of people coming to this country claiming asylum – asylum means you are fleeing persecution, torture, because of maybe your race, membership in a political group, your orientation, things like that… why don’t we ever hear anything about who’s torturing them? Wouldn’t the smart move be, let’s find out who’s torturing them and address that, because it’s a pretty bad thing if millions of people are fleeing here because they’re being persecuted. Don’t you think we have an obligation as a nation to find out who’s persecuting them and to stop the persecution?


“He knows it’s false. It’s a total game, but he’ll never be asked about it,” Fahey added.

Those working the border have been consistently overwhelmed by the number of migrants arriving at the southern border each day. Customs and Border Protection officials have encountered 2.1 million migrants this fiscal year, with over 200,000 migrant encounters in August alone.