Omar Calls for Abolishing ICE, Stopping Deportations

US Representative Ilhan Omar / Getty Images
May 17, 2019

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) called for abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement and halting deportations while delivering remarks on Thursday after President Donald Trump offered a new immigration plan.

"Today the president has unveiled an immigration plan that makes no mention of DACA, a program Trump unilaterally ended in late 2017, that has been hanging by a thread thanks to court injunctions," Omar said, according to Mediaite. "A plan that fails to make sure people with temporary protection status and deferred enforced departure recipients don’t have a path to a permanent status or citizenship. A plan that seeks to limit asylum seekers fleeing violence."

Under Trump's proposal, high-skilled workers would be favored in the immigration system. It also requires immigrants to be financially self-sufficient and learn English.

"Make no mistake, this plan would have a devastating effect on millions of people around the world who, like me, had plans of coming to this land of opportunity," Omar continued. "Our nation is, and has always been a beacon of hope for the world. We should be welcoming immigrants into our country and providing them a simple and accessible path to becoming documented, not treating them like criminals or dehumanizing them by calling them animals."

Trump has referred to members of the violent drug gang MS-13 as "animals," not all immigrants as Omar's comments imply.

"So what are we asking for?" continued Omar. "What we’re asking for is very simple. We need to make sure that we cut, and not put increases on spending on detention facilities. We need to stop using DHS as a slush fund."

"We need to abolish ICE, and end all inhumane deportation and detention programs," Omar said. "We need to fight back against the criminalization of immigrants and those crossing the border. We need to create a fair and accessible path to legal status and citizenship for all undocumented people in the United States."

Calls for abolishing ICE have diminished among Democratic presidential candidates, despite previous expressions of support. Senators Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, and Kirsten Gillibrand said last year they favored abolishing ICE. A poll from August 2018 showed abolishing ICE had little support even among Democrats.