The movement to “defund the police” is gaining momentum among Democrats as retaliation for police brutality. This unrealistic idea was once solely existent on the outskirts of the Democratic Party, among the fringe, far-left, but is not the first of its kind. A substantial amount of Democrats favor abolishing Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) in order to prevent a crackdown on illegal immigration, while also villifying border patrol for enforcing the law of the land.
The idea of abolishing or cutting funding to ICE would not resonate with voters in battleground states, as it represents a public safety issue, especially in states like Arizona. While Arizona Senate hopeful Mark Kelly has not endorsed “abolishing” ICE or stripping funding, the Arizona Democrat was visibly hostile toward a border patrol agent, per a first hand account from Art Del Cueto, the vice president and spokesperson for National Border Patrol Council and an agent in Tucson’s sector. Del Cueto recounted his experience with Kelly in a recent radio interview:
“I went up to him [Mark Kelly] and said hello. I didn’t even get a chance to introduce myself. He knew right off the bat: “You’re with the Border Patrol guys, right?” That’s what he said and I did not have the chance to correct him and say I’m with the Border Patrol union. So he said, “You’re with the Border Patrol guys.” I gave him my hand to shake it and he looks at my hand and he made a gesture with his hand up in the air, like you’re almost going to shake it but you’re not going to shake it. He then just walked away and waved me off... I put my hand out and he was like, “You’re one of them,” and did not even want to bother. He walked away.” he recalled to Arizona radio host Garrett Lewis.
GOP incumbent Sen. Martha McSally, who has to defend her seat against Kelly in November, condemned the idea of “defunding the police,” and drew a parallel between the two fringe movements that are moving to the mainstream of the Democratic Party:
“The Democratic Party is mainstreaming a dangerous idea as we speak: defunding the police. And they have already mainstreamed within their party the idea of defunding ICE. This is a dangerous platform that threatens the safety and security of every Arizonan,” the Arizona Republican said in a statement. “We are at a national crossroads and extreme voices have hijacked the Democratic Party. Our very Constitutional rights are on the line, as is the safety of our communities and neighborhoods. I will support those engaged in peaceful protest and free speech, and I will stand up to the violent mob threatening our cities and citizens. Kelly never will.”
Despite this disrespect toward border patrol, Kelly previously said that he did not support abolishing ICE, and his campaign website calls for a border “well staffed” with agents. As Kelly knows, making public any disrespect toward border patrol would cost him politically with Arizona voters who favor public safety and law and order. Kelly also has yet to comment on the movement to “defund the police,” but has endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden for president; Biden's campaign came out against "defunding the police" on Monday.