Wednesday, August 01, 2018
jonathan swift -- call your publisher
Hon. Salvatore ("Sal") Tessio (NY-D)
Rayburn House Office Building
1 August 2018
9:02 AM (EST)
Congressman Tessio: Thank you all for coming.
I know most of you do not know me very well. I have been proud to represent the people of New York's 29th congressional district for the past 11 years. In all of that time, I have never seen the need to hold a full press conference.
An issue has arisen that I fear is going to tear my party -- the Democrats -- apart. I am proud to be an old school liberal. I was born a Democrat. I was raised a Democrat. And I am proud to be a Democrat.
I am now speaking out because some of my fellow party members are taking a position that is going to dispirit a large group of voters from supporting our party because of recent statements concerning immigration.
I am, of course, speaking of the ICE controversy. Some of my colleagues (a senator from my home state among them) have been calling fpr the abolition of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, more commonly know as ICE. ICE is the agency that oversees the deportation of illegal immigrants.
We have all been disheartened watching ICE agents separate children from their parents. Some members of my party are advocating the abolition of ICE. By failing to clarify that the deportation duties will have to be performed by some other agency, my colleagues are daring the Democrats who voted for President Trump to do it again in 2018.
No one is in favor of illegal immigration. At least, that is what I used to think. But, I am beginning to think I might be wrong. However, I do know the people I represent do not support illegal immigration. Most are descendants of immigrants, and honor people who wish to come here legally.
In the spirit of my immigrant constituents, I have a proposal that I will submit in the form of a bill later this afternoon.
ICE was split from the Border Patrol in 2002. I was not a congressman then. But I would have voted fpr the split. One of my constituents, Antonio ("Fat Tony") D'Amico, told me he liked the name ICE. As a verb, it sounded as if deportation might be serious business.
He called me last week to tell me he had changed him mind. After all of those teary visuals, ICE seemed to be a rather mean-spirited name.
This weekend, my wife and I attended a production of Iolanthe at our son's high school. You all know how it ends. The fairy queen is in a quandary. The law requires her to kill all of her fairy court because each of them has married a mortal.
The Lord Chancellor, as "an old equity draftsman," comes to her rescue. "The thing is really quite simple; the insertion of a single word will do it. Let it stand that every fairy shall die who don't marry a mortal."
It occurred to me that all of this bother about abolishing ICE and shooing away Democrat voters could be solved just as easily. By inserting a word.
My bill will re-name the agency as National Immigration and Customs Enforcement. NICE.
With its new name, the agency will have a new style. My bill will require the agency to be headquartered in some nice American place. Like St. Vincent, Minnesota. Or Ames, Iowa.
And we will need new agents. If NICE is to be something other than a publicity stunt, we will need agents with a new attitude. Like grandmothers. Minnesota grandmothers. The type that serve you cookies at 4 and a large bowl of cornmeal mush just before you go to bed.
I would offer my grandmother as an example. When she heard my gambling grandfather was at a card game, she marched down the street into the card room, pulled her pistol out of her purse, and told them if they every allowed him to play cards again, she would gleefully shoot each of them. She also cooked a great bowl of mush.
Most solutions to perplexing problems are simple. Mine is not only simple, it just might save my party.