On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Americans across the country took to social media to pay homage to the late civil rights leader, though one message from a federal agency left many unimpressed. On Monday, to commemorate MLK Day, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Twitter account shared a message that immediately sparked debate and backlash given the agency’s policies and history.
The post was shared with a photo of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C. Overlaid on the graphic was the civil rights hero’s date of birth and death, as well his quote, "The time is always right to do what is right." To show their appreciation for King, ICE wrote, "Today we honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s message of hope, justice and equality."
Today we honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s message of hope, justice and equality. pic.twitter.com/C7HOywZWbd— ICE (@ICEgov) January 18, 2021
As many pointed out, ICE for years has enacted numerous policies that King would almost certainly be against and contradict the message of "hope, justice and equality" the agency shared in its MLK Day tweet, including the separation of children and infants from parents or guardians with whom they had entered the U.S. ICE has also faced overwhelming backlash for keeping children in cages. Many also pointed out the number of fatalities in ICE custody as well as the conditions detainees are kept in.
ICE, however, is not the only government entity to face backlash for its MLK Day message. Last year, the FBI found itself wading controversy after sharing a photo of King's quote etched into a stone at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia that serves as "a reminder to all students and FBI employees: 'The time is always right to do what is right.'" The backlash to ICE’s tweet was just as fierce, even renewing calls to abolish ICE.
Abolish ICE. https://t.co/h4zIbesjRe— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) January 18, 2021
You have children in concentration camps.
let’s not pretend if he wasn’t alive today, you wouldn’t have him in one too!January 18, 2021
hey are you the guys who just spent four years kidnapping brown kids, adopting them out to white families, and then forcibly sterilizing a bunch of people— 💭 (@samthielman) January 18, 2021
The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.— Benjamin Dreyer (@BCDreyer) January 18, 2021
It's unconscionable that our tax dollars were used to take brown babies away from their mothers when they sought asylum. And it's infuriating that our tax dollars are being used to troll us about race today. Person running ICE Twitter needs to be fired and ICE must be defunded— Pelosi Slays Dragons (@blueingreenemo) January 18, 2021
It is a choice to be this disrespectful. A choice.— Nelba Márquez-Greene, LMFT (@Nelba_MG) January 18, 2021
Is this the most hypocritical thing you’ve seen this ...... week? https://t.co/Da8z0jMNHT— Rob Arnol (@RobertArnol) January 18, 2021
Today and every day, you spit on MLK’s message.
You kidnap people, shackle them, deport them into mortal danger, destroy families — because you say they broke a law.
“Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust.”— Paul Cantrell (@inthehands) January 18, 2021
Definition of tone-deaf
1 : relatively insensitive to differences in musical pitch— Greg "Wear Your Mask" Proops (@GregProops) January 18, 2021
2 : having or showing an obtuse insensitivity or lack of perception particularly in matters of public sentiment, opinion, or taste
hey you and everyone who works for ICE should quit your jobs— Kelsey D. Atherton (@AthertonKD) January 18, 2021
Congratulations! You have been selected as a finalist in the Annual "People With No Self Awareness Who Have No Business Quoting MLK, Jr." contest.— bullcityVA (@BullCityVA) January 18, 2021
if he was alive he'd want to abolish you— Bes D. Socialist (@besf0rt) January 18, 2021