Arizona Dem Senate Candidate: Abolishing ICE ‘Doesn’t Make Any Sense’

Congresswoman refers to illegal immigrants as 'housekeepers' or people 'working at restaurants'

Democratic Senate candidate and current Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) said on Thursday that abolishing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, also referred to as ICE, "doesn't make any sense."

"I think most Americans would agree that we could us some reform," Sinema said about ICE. "For instance, ICE targeting individuals who haven't done anything wrong, who were just housekeepers or working at restaurants. Those are individuals who are working their hardest to become a part of the American dream. So abolishing ICE isn't realistic and doesn't make any sense."

Sinema's comments echo Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D., Conn.), who said abolishing ICE would accomplish "nothing."

Her comments contrast, however, a growing movement among liberals and progressives to abolish ICE. Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) and Kristen Gillibrand (D., N.Y.) called for ICE to be abolished. Cynthia Nixon, who is challenging New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the Democratic primary, called ICE a "terrorist organization" and said it should be abolished. Other progressive candidates and activists have adopted this as part of their platform amid the controversy of the Trump administration's zero tolerance policy for illegal immigration. Rep. Mark Pocan (D., Wis.) introduced legislation which would abolish the agency. Other Democratic senators like Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) indicated an openness to abolishing ICE and starting from scratch but have been hesitant to fully embrace the idea.

A Washington Free Beacon analysis detailed what abolishing ICE would look like for the country and enforcing immigration laws.

Sinema also described illegal immigrants by using a common stereotype of them being "housekeepers" or those "working at restaurants." Actress Amber Heard received backlash earlier this week when she tweeted something similar.

"Just heard there's an ICE checkpoint in hollywood, a few blocks from where I live. Everyone better give their housekeepers, nannies and landscapers a ride home tonight…," Heard tweeted. She later deleted the tweet.

Sinema is running for the Senate seat being left open by Sen. Jeff Flake  (R., Ariz.), who announced in October he would not run for reelection.  She is considered the clear frontrunner on the Democratic side and is expected to face the winner of the Republican primary in November's election.