Calls are growing among some lawmakers to eliminate the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, a division of the Department of Homeland Security.
Congressman Mark Pocan (D-WI) recently said that he intends to introduce legislation to eliminate the agency. He made the announcement after a recent trip to visit the southern border. As of the time of this writing, Pocan has not yet introduced the bill, however.
Update: Pocan introduced the legislation on July 12. See Bill Introduced to Abolish Ice.
“I’m introducing legislation that would abolish ICE and crack down on the agency’s blanket directive to target and round up individuals and families,” said Pocan. “The heartless actions of this abused agency do not represent the values of our nation and the U.S. must develop a more humane immigration system, one that treats every person with dignity and respect.”
Growing Support for Elimination
His position is just one of several comments now being seen coming from some in Congress. These are just a few of the other recent calls to eliminate the agency:
In 2002 I voted against the creation of DHS and the establishment of ICE. That was the right vote. Now, it is time to do what Americans overwhelmingly want: abolish the cruel, dysfunctional immigration system we have today and pass comprehensive immigration reform.
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) July 3, 2018
RT if you agree.
— Earl Blumenauer (@repblumenauer) June 28, 2018
Today, thousands of people across our county stood up to demand an immigration system that lives up to our values as Americans — not one that betrays them. We will not stop fighting to #KeepFamiliesTogether & #AbolishICE pic.twitter.com/UjPZmCXYbO
— Jim McGovern (@RepMcGovern) July 1, 2018
Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal is working with Pocan on his bill and told NPR, “The legislation as we’re drafting it now would actually set up a commission that would have a period of time to work on alternatives to really how we redesign the functions of ICE and where we put them. And then ICE would be abolished at the end of that time with the best alternative being chosen.”
Update: The Hill reported that House GOP leaders said they plan to bring the Democratic measure to a vote as part of a calculated political move to force Democrats into a difficult vote.
Ironically, some of the lawmakers behind the bill said they will not be voting for it, calling it a “political stunt:”
“We know Speaker Ryan is not serious about passing our ‘Establishing a Humane Immigration Enforcement System Act,’ so members of Congress, advocacy groups, and impacted communities will not engage in this political stunt.”
Story coming soon. pic.twitter.com/4xgpBAMsGr
— Ella Nilsen (@ella_nilsen) July 12, 2018
Not everyone in Congress is so eager to see the agency eliminated. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) told CNN, “If you abolish ICE now, you still have the same president with the same failed policies. Whatever you replace it with is going to still reflect what this president wants to do.”
A group of employees at ICE have called for the agency to be split into two separate agencies amid the growing rhetoric taking aim at ICE.
“…the establishment of two separate and independent agencies will improve transparency, efficiency and effectiveness,” wrote the employees in their letter to DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.
President Trump has continued to defend the agency and his administration’s immigration policies which lie at the core over the debate about the agency. He said in a recent interview with Fox News, “We have to have strong borders. We don’t want crime…The Democrats want to have no borders. They want to get rid of ICE.”
A recent poll from Rasmussen found that the majority of likely voters randomly surveyed said they were opposed to eliminating ICE. 55% were opposed while 25% favored abolishing the agency. The poll noted that opposition was higher among Republicans (69%) whereas it was 53% opposed among independents and 44% among Democrats.
What is your opinion? Should ICE be abolished? Share your feedback in the comments below.