An increasing number of elected officials and progressive activists associated with the Democratic Party are rallying behind calls for the abolition of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the federal agency responsible for preventing cross-border crime and illegal immigration.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.), who has been frequently touted as a potential 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, became the most high-profile elected official to call for abolishing ICE during a Thursday appearance on CNN's "Cuomo Prime Time."
Shortly after appearing on the show, the senator took to social media to elaborate she had come around to support the opinion ICE was now a "deportation force" and needed to be replaced with "something that actually works."
"I believe we need to protect families who need help, and ICE isn’t doing that," Gillibrand tweeted. "It has become a deportation force. We need to separate immigration issues from criminal justice. We need to abolish ICE, start over and build something that actually works."
I believe we need to protect families who need help, and ICE isn’t doing that. It has become a deportation force. We need to separate immigration issues from criminal justice. We need to abolish ICE, start over and build something that actually works. https://t.co/JtSN68k4Fd
— Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) June 29, 2018
While Gillibrand may have become the first sitting senator to signal her support for abolition on Thursday, a few of her colleagues in the House had already singled their support for the issue.
I voted against creating @DHSgov & @ICEgov because I feared they could be used as a political tool to traumatize innocent immigrant communities & rip families apart. @realDonaldTrump has confirmed my worst fears. It's time to #AbolishICE. https://t.co/qXTG4hGLAQ
— Rep. Jim McGovern (@RepMcGovern) June 26, 2018
ICE is being misused to harm immigrants & other priorities like stopping sex trafficking are being diminished. That's why I join the call to #AbolishIce. On every front, we must fight @realDonaldTrump's policies like "zero tolerance", jeopardizing DREAMers and rolling back #TPS
— Rep. Nydia Velazquez (@NydiaVelazquez) June 29, 2018
— #DebForInterior (@SeanMcElwee) June 24, 2018
On Monday, Rep. Mark Pocan (D., Wis.) announced he plans to introduce legislation that would abolish the immigration enforcement agency. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D., Ore.) later announced he would join Pocan in introducing the legislation.
"We should be prioritizing the protection of families and our borders in a humane and thoughtful way. People should be treated with compassion and respect. ICE is simply not doing that," Blumenauer said in a statement. "Trump and his administration have made the agency so toxic that it’s time to abolish ICE, and start over."
— Earl Blumenauer (@repblumenauer) June 24, 2018
.@realDonaldTrump & his team of white nationalists, including Stephen Miller, have so misused @ICEgov that the agency can no longer accomplish its goals effectively. I’m introducing a bill to #AbolishICE & crack down on the agency’s blanket directive to target & round up people. pic.twitter.com/xhHsOHCdNH
— Rep. Mark Pocan (@repmarkpocan) June 25, 2018
Several progressive organizations, activists, and Democratic candidates have also raised the issue as their cause.
— Cynthia Nixon (@CynthiaNixon) June 22, 2018
No one is illegal on stolen land. #AbolishICE
— CODEPINK (@codepink) June 28, 2018
Here’s what must be done:
We must #abolishICE. It’s very structure is about as undemocratic and authoritarian as it gets in the US.
We have to replace ICE with an updated INS-like structure that handles crime through the same court system we’ve had for well over 100 years. /8
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) May 26, 2018
Get the children out of cages. Get their parents out of jail cells. Get rid of the immigration agencies responsible for these atrocities. We need #FreedomForImmigrants. Our communities will only see relief when we #AbolishICE & #AbolishCBP!
Text AbolishICE to 877877 & Join Us pic.twitter.com/q0BSqD56x5
— United We Dream (@UNITEDWEDREAM) June 29, 2018
— Linda Sarsour (@lsarsour) June 23, 2018