An increasing number of Democrats have joined in calling for the termination of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE), an advocacy once championed by the far-left parts of progressive politics and now front and center in democratic politics.
The call to shut down the agency picked up steam weeks ago in Washington, beginning with a demonstration against Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, who was spotted by protesters dining at a Mexican restaurant. The group urged her to take action against the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance approach to unlawful immigration resulting in the separation of immigrant children from their guardians at the border. The demonstration climaxed with a call to action that now resounds with other immigration rights advocates: “Abolish ICE.”
Two weeks after the incident, a growing roster of prominent democrats adopted the movement and brought it to the mainstream when once not even the most liberal lawmakers gave it the time of day.
Democrats have also championed the cause at the local level. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the 28-year-old leftwing activist who pulled an upset against 10-term incumbent and Democratic Caucus Chair Joseph Crowley, winning New York’s 14th congressional district, was one of the most vocal figures calling for ICE’s abolition.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) expressed agreement with Ocasio-Cortez’s hard stance against ICE, becoming the first senator to do so. She claims that “ICE today [isn’t] working as intended,” insisting that the agency has instead “become a deportation force.” Gillibrand added that a line should be drawn between criminal justice and immigration issues.
Calls for an ICE shutdown continued to snowball as other democrats from across the country began to echo the New York politicians’ sentiments. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) wrote in a Facebook post, “The President’s deeply immoral actions have made it obvious that we need to rebuild our immigration system from top to bottom, starting by replacing ICE with something that reflects our values.”
Government agents themselves have called for the agency to be dismantled. Some 19 agents from the Homeland Security Investigations unit wrote a letter addressed to Secretary Nielsen, complaining that their work has all too often converged with ICE’s deportation activities.
Surprisingly, Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) separated himself from the democratic chorus, arguing instead that abolishing ICE without changing President Trump’s disastrous immigration policy would not solve the problem.
ICE spokeswoman Jennifer D. Elzea had this to say on the matter, relayed through email: “Recent calls to abolish ICE are dangerously misguided. Instead of being insulted with politically-motivated attacks, the men and women of ICE should be praised for risking life and limb every day in the name of national security and public safety.”
If you want to learn more about your rights should you be involved in ICE’s immigration. campaign, don’t hesitate to talk to the legal team of the Lyttle Law Firm to discuss your options. Call our offices today at (512) 215.5225 to schedule a consultation with immigration attorney Daniella Lyttle.