Dem Candidate Challenging Paul Ryan Wants to Abolish ICE: It ‘Has Grown Power Hungry’

(Updated)

Randy Bryce / Getty Images

A Democratic congressional candidate seeking to challenge House Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) has called for the abolition of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE.

Randy Bryce, a Democratic activist and ironworker, annouced his stance against ICE during a campaign event at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside on Tuesday, according to the Hill.

"Rather than deporting immigrants who pose a risk to the nation’s security, ICE has grown power hungry, sucking up more and more federal resources and directing them towards the deportation of children and families, who are otherwise completely law-abiding," Bryce's platform on his campaign website reads.

The National Republican Congressional Committee slammed Bryce's policy proposal as dangerous.

"This radical proposal is completely out of touch with Main Street, Wisconsin. ICE plays a vital role in fighting deadly gangs, preventing terrorism, and ending sex trafficking operations," NRCC spokesman Chris Martin told the Washington Free Beacon. "Randy Bryce would put our communities in grave danger."

Bryce's platform goes on to say Congress should be assessing existing agencies to determine which one could best control ICE, which was established under the Department Homeland Security in 2003 after its responsibilities were previously handled by several separate agencies.

While immigration activists are supportive of ICE being abolished, Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.), one of the most progressive members of the Senate, said last month that ICE should exist.

"Should ICE exist? Well certainly. When we are talking about people who have committed serious and violent crimes, Chris, you know my background. I'm a prosecutor. I believe that there needs to be serious, severe, and swift consequences when people commit serious and violent crimes," Harris said. "And certainly if they are undocumented, they should be deported if they commit those serious and violent offenses, so yes ICE has a purpose. ICE has a role. ICE should exist."

Bryce's immigration platform also calls for Congress to pass "clean" legislation extending protections to beneficiaries of the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration program and opposing President Donald Trump's executive order.

Bryce was arrested last month in Racine, Wisconsin for blocking traffic near Ryan's Racine office while protesting Ryan's immigration policy. He was demonstrating with a small group of protesters demanding that Ryan and Republicans pass a clean Dream Act, which would protect beneficiaries of DACA without dedicating resources to border security.

Bryce is not the only Democratic candidate running on the platform of abolishing ICE. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who is challenging Rep. Joe Crowley (D., N.Y.) in New York's 14th Congressional District, and Dan Canon, who is challenging Rep. Trey Hollingsworth (R., Ind.) in Indiana's 9th Congressional District, have both called for ICE to be abolished during their campaigns. Canon called Bryce's position on ICE a "bold stance."

Ryan handily won reelection in 2016, defeating his Democratic opponent by 35 percentage points.

UPDATE: 12:44 P.M.: This article was updated with a statement from the NRCC.