Gillibrand Calls to Disband ICE: It's a 'Deportation Force'

June 29, 2018

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.) called Thursday night to disband U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

CNN host Chris Cuomo asked Gillibrand about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who beat incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley (D., N.Y.) in the 14th Congressional District primary, and her controversial position to disband the law enforcement agency.

"She's also got some positions that are even to the left of Bernie Sanders. She wants to get rid of ICE," Cuomo said. "Now, what are you going to do with your party if you do come into a majority and you have a significant number, or at least an influence of people who have that kind of a position?"

"Well, I agree with it. I don't think ICE today is working as intended," Gillibrand said.

"You think you should get rid of the agency?" Cuomo asked.

"I believe that it has become a deportation force and I think you should separate out the criminal justice from the immigration issues and I think you should reimagine ICE under a new agency with a very different mission and take those two missions out," Gillibrand said.

She went on to argue the U.S. should replace ICE with "something that actually works."

"So we believe that we should protect families that need our help and that is not what ICE is doing today," Gillibrand said, "and that's why I believe you should get rid of it, start over, reimagine it, and build something that actually works."

ICE is a component of the Department of Homeland Security and has been criticized by many liberals – particularly under the Trump administration – for managing the deportation of those who are ordered to leave the country. Rep. Mark Pocan (D., Wis.) announced Monday he was introducing a bill to abolish the agency.

Cynthia Nixon, another New York progressive who is challenging Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D., N.Y.) in his bid for re-election, recently referred to ICE as a "terrorist organization."