House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) on Wednesday criticized Democrats for pushing to abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and praised agents’ work to stop the drug trade and human trafficking.
The Republican lawmaker touted a resolution to express support for ICE officers, which ultimately passed, and ridiculed his Democratic counterparts for sponsoring a bill to do the opposite and abolish ICE. He pointed out that those attacking ICE got cold feet on abolishing the agency when Republicans agreed to vote on the measure.
"Democrats don’t even agree with their own bill they introduced," he said. "They lack the courage of their so-called convictions. Because when we offered the ability to bring the bill up–abolish ICE–that they put into the hopper and cosponsored, Democrats said they would vote no."
"They wanted the glory of introducing to the far-left of their party, but they didn’t have the guts to accept the consequences," he added.
McCarthy mocked House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) for her response on the proposed bill to abolish ICE.
"I listened … to the leader on the Democratic side when she said, ‘I recommend voting no, or maybe vote present, or vote however you want.’ I’m not sure what position she was requesting when she said all three," McCarthy said.
He said ICE agents deserve Congress’s support and the respect of the American people.
"ICE agents are on the frontlines in the battle against crime," he said. "In 2016, they arrested nearly 2,000 human traffickers—criminals who are involved in modern-day slavery. You wanted to abolish that."
This echoed House GOP Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Wash.), who also discussed the problems with calls to abolish ICE.
"There is no doubt that ICE is at the forefront of keeping criminals like drug and human traffickers off our streets. We are safer because of their work," she said, criticizing Democrats for playing politics and pushing for open borders. "The outrageous suggestion to abolish this agency is irresponsible, and it would wreak havoc in communities across the country."
McCarthy also told Democrats that they were on the wrong side of the issue with the American electorate.
"Most Americans disagree with you—they actually support ICE," he said. "According to a recent poll, just one in four Americans think we should abolish it."
He said the socialist movement within the Democratic Party that has been pushing to abolish ICE has too much influence and ultimately wants open borders.
"That’s not what Americans asked for. It’s not what Americans support," he said. "Then again, I’m not sure I understand what the other side supports when they support a bill, they ask people to cosponsor, and then they won’t even vote for it."
"That is why I am happy to offer Congressman Higgins’ (R., La.) resolution—and to stand with the men and women of ICE. Because I want a safer America," McCarthy said.
"And for those who gave their lives for us—I will stand with them. Even if it means standing up against a new socialist Democratic Party," he concluded.