Arizona Democratic Congressional Candidate Booed for Supporting ICE

July 20, 2018

A congressional candidate from Arizona was booed at a debate after she expressed support for Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Ann Kirkpatrick, a candidate for Arizona’s 2nd Congressional District, prompted jeers after raising her hand in response to a question about whether any of the debate participants "would have declared [their] support for ICE agents without any increased oversight."

Kirkpatrick drew the ire of the crowd again when she raised her hand in support of Democratic leadership’s condemnation of comments made by Rep. Maxine Waters (D., Calif.).

Waters controversially called for supporters to harass Trump administration officials, saying at a rally, "If you see anybody from that cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd, and you push back on them, and you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere."

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) called Waters’ comments "unacceptable."

Kirkpatrick was the only person on stage to raise her hand in response to both questions. She was also heckled as she tried to answer a question about fear-mongering and mass incarceration. Later in the debate, one heckler appeared to yell, "You should be ashamed of yourself!" at Kirkpatrick.

A number of activists and Democratic politicians have coalesced around calls to abolish ICE in protest of the Trump administration's immigration policies. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.) called ICE a "deportation force" and called for its elimination. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) said "we need to rebuild our immigration system from top to bottom starting by replacing ICE with something that reflects our morality and that works."

Kirkpatrick served as a congresswoman from Arizona’s 1st Congressional District for three non-consecutive terms between 2009 and 2017. She was defeated by longtime Sen. John McCain (R.) in the 2016 Arizona senate election.

In June, a judge ruled that Kirkpatrick could appear on the primary ballot next month, even though some of her campaign documents contained incorrect residency information. The lawsuit challenging her appearance on the ballot was funded by the campaign of former Arizona state Rep. Matt Heinz, one of her opponents in the Democratic primary.