GoFundMe page

Sen. Kamala Harris Questions Acting Head of ICE Who Called Democrats 'NeoKlanist' Party

Ronald Vitiello, President Trump’s nominee to run Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), described the Democratic Party as “NeoKlanist,” and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) confronted him about his statement.


At Vitiello’s confirmation hearing with the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Thursday, Harris questioned him on why he sent a tweet in 2015 likening Democrats to the Ku Klux Klan.

“You’re sorry because the words caused offense,” Harris said to Vitiello. “So would you not be sorry if no one was offended by your words”

“No, it was wrong to do,” he answered.

“Why was it wrong” Harris asked.

“Because those are offensive words,” Vitiello responded.

“Why are they offensive” she asked.

“Because they have history in this country. I honestly did not mean it in that way,” he said.

The senator then inquired whether or not he was aware of the KKK’s history in the country.

Vitiello said the KKK was a domestic terrorist group as “they tried to use fear and force to change political environment.”

Harris asked: “And what was the motivation for the use of fear and force”

“It was based on race and ethnicity,” Vitiello responded.

“Are you aware of the perception of many about how the power and the discretion at ICE is being used to enforce the laws” Harris asked. “And, do you see any parallels”

“I see no perception that puts ICE in the same category as the KKK,” Vitiello answered. “Is that what you’re asking me”

Harris said she was only specifically asking him about a perception of ICE that exists.

“Are you aware of the perception that ICE is administering its power in a way that is causing fear and intimation particularly among immigrants And specifically from immigrants coming from Mexico and Central America”

In response to critics saying Harris was comparing ICE to the KKK, her spokesperson said, “‘No, she was not,” and pointed to a moment from the hearing when Harris said “the vast majority of the men and women who work in the agency do a noble and good job,'” according to The Hill.

Vitiello is a career border control agent, starting with ICE in 1985. He has enjoyed a career filled with squashing the American dream for more than 2,500 immigrant families. Until June, he served as CBP’s acting deputy commissioner and the head of Border Patrol, a CBP agency. This past Thursday, he was appointed acting ICE director by Trump.

Vitiello is getting stiff opposition from Immigrant advocates and the Women’s Refugee Commission.

Director Michelle Brane recently tweeted, “This is the guy who managed CBP, the agents that separated kids from their parents, the agents who told parents they were taking their child to give them a bath, the agents who did not keep track of who they were separating.” She added, “Not qualified to run anything.”

Although Vitiello admitted he was surprised by the backlash generated by the family separation policy, he and the Trump Administration are planning to rollout another family separation policy that would force parents to choose between sending their kids to shelters or being detained together indefinitely.

This would serve as a loophole to avoid a court agreement that helps immigrant minors from being detained for more than 20 days.

When asked what he would do to avoid repeating the mistakes of the family separation crisis, his response was vague. He said officials should have been more communicative with the public about the process. No specifics or apology was given.

Vitiello is still awaiting confirmation from the Homeland Security Committee before going to the full Senate.

Reader Question: Do you agree with Sen. Harris’ questions to Ronald Vitiello

Latest News

Melanie Willingham-Jaggers

People on the Move: Melanie Willingham-Jaggers, New Executive Director of LGBTQ Advocacy Group GLSEN

The nationwide LGBTQ+ advocacy group Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) has announced the appointment of its new Executive Director, Melanie Willingham-Jaggers. They will be the first Black, nonbinary individual to lead the group in its 32-year history. Founded in 1990 by a group of educators focused on helping…

Walmart interior

Black Corrections Officer Wrongly Accused of Shoplifting in Walmart Claims Store Employees Racially Profiled Him 

Despite Walmart’s ongoing commitment to diversity as an organization, employees at one store in Georgia have been accused of racially profiling one of their customers. Monique Beals of The Hill reported that “David Conners, a Clayton County corrections officer, was stopped and handcuffed by a Fayetteville police officer while he…

Walgreens exterior

Walgreens Planning Virtual Summit To Promote Supplier Diversity

National pharmaceutical giant Walgreens (No. 39 on the DiversityInc Top 50 list) has announced an upcoming supplier diversity summit designed to help the country’s numerous diverse businesses and entrepreneurs promote their businesses and offerings.  Business news site Retail Info Systems (RIS) reported that the virtual event, scheduled for April 5th…

Boeing CEO David Calhoun Provides ESG and Supply Chain Update in Message to Employees

Originally published at boeing.mediaroom.com. Boeing Company ranked No. 17 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   Boeing President and CEO Dave Calhoun shared the following message with employees addressing the company’s fourth-quarter results: As we share our fourth-quarter results, I want to thank you for your hard work and…

Cox Communications logo on screen.

Cox on 5 Things To Not Compromise in 2022

Originally published at cox.com. Cox Communications ranked No. 32 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   As you jump into a new year, you may have a list of resolutions you plan to work toward. From short-term goals like reading one book per month to long-term…