New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D.) on Friday joined a group of Democratic politicians in saying Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) should be abolished.
"We should abolish ICE, we should create something better, something different," de Blasio told WNYC radio's Brian Lehrer.
The question was posed to de Blasio following the Democratic primary results in New York's heavily-Democratic 14th Congressional District, which saw an upset victory from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The 28-year-old self-described Democratic socialist is running on a platform that includes a call to abolish ICE.
"Would you like to join the call to abolish ICE or have you already?" Lehrer asked de Blasio.
The mayor asserted, "Every country needs some kind of sensible, transparent, immigration regulation. There's no question about that."
But while there should be a body to deal with immigration, he argued, "ICE is not that."
"ICE has proven it can't be that," he said. "ICE's time has come and gone. It is broken."
De Blasio said the immigration enforcement agency has been sent on "a very negative, divisive mission. And it can't function the way it is."
"So, I think that Ms. Ocasio-Cortez is right. We should abolish ICE," he said. "We should create something better, something different. But in the way it has developed, it has become a punitive, negative tool for division, and it's no longer acceptable."
De Blasio's stance reflects similar calls from fellow progressive politicians and candidates, including those from Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.), Rep. Mark Pocan (D., Wis.), and New York Democratic gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon.
During the interview, de Blasio claimed Ocasio-Cortez came from his wing of the Democratic Party, though he endorsed the incumbent in the race, 10-term Congressman Joe Crowley.