House Majority Whip Steny Hoyer (D., Md.) on Monday pushed back against the anti-ICE rhetoric of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.), saying that it "goes too far."
Hoyer appeared on Fox News' "Your World" with Neil Cavuto to discuss the Democratic strategy to prevent another government shutdown, which transitioned into a conversation on Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Host Neil Cavuto mentioned how some of the far-left members of Congress, such as Ocasio-Cortez, have called for ICE to be defunded altogether and asked Hoyer how he responds that rhetoric.
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"They didn't go that far. Some suggested eliminating ICE as an organization. I was not for that. The speaker was not for that clearly," Hoyer said. "We're going to have immigrants. We're going to have customs. We need enforcement."
Cavuto asked Hoyer to clarify whether he believes ICE "has value," prompting him to say, "Of course it does… It's an essential agency."
"So when [Ocasio-Cortez] and others say that it isn't doing that and it should be shut down, you say that goes too far?" Cavuto asked.
"I think that goes too far," Hoyer said.
Ocasio-Cortez has been attacking ICE since last May, when she called for it to be abolished.
"We must #abolishICE. It’s very structure is about as undemocratic and authoritarian as it gets in the US," Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. "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."
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
Last month, she claimed the agency has "systematically violated human rights" and caused "death."
"The president should not be asking for more money to an agency that has systematically violated human rights. The president should be really defending why we are funding such an agency at all because right now what we are seeing is death. Right now what we are seeing is the violation of human rights," Ocasio-Cortez said.
She argued that the primary reason for undocumented immigrants in the United States is overstaying visas versus people crossing over the border illegally. She then went on to accuse Trump of trying to restrict "every form of legal immigration there is in the United States."