Published: Mon, July 02, 2018
Worldwide | By Stella Potter

Some Democrats With Eye On 2020 Say: 'Abolish ICE'

Some Democrats With Eye On 2020 Say: 'Abolish ICE'

They gathered on the front lawn of a Border Patrol station in McAllen, Texas, near a detention center where migrant children were being held in cages, and on a street corner near Trump's golf resort at Bedminster, New Jersey, where the president is spending the weekend.

This week, activists picked up even more momentum.

Fueling its sudden ascent have been a series of recent shocks to the system.

Senator Kamla Harris of California told several news outlets that "maybe" or "probably" the government should "start from scratch" on a new immigration enforcement agency.

NY gubernatorial hopeful Cynthia Nixon, who has mutually endorsed Ocasio-Cortez, has thrown her support behind ICE's abolition amid continued mass opposition to Trump's "zero tolerance" policy, as has Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, also of NY. "I have literally never seen Americans show up for immigrants like this", Jess Morales Rocketto, political director at the National Domestic Workers Alliance, said. "I believe that it has become a deportation force, and I think you should separate the criminal justice from the immigration issues".

The rapid escalation was years in the making.

A source familiar with the situation had told CNN that Vitiello was expected to be named acting director of ICE as soon as Friday.

"(My concern is) that they don't have a plan.

Donald Trump, who has vilified law enforcement agencies, the intelligence community, the military, and veterans, leapt to ICE's defense via Twitter, and attacked Democrats for supporting the agency's abolishment.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren of MA expressed her support for replacing the agency at a Saturday rally.

For Pocan, Trump's call on Sunday to return immigrants who enter the country illegally without judicial proceedings was the last straw. "You rarely get anywhere through policymaking by hashtag". "You're just kind of like, all right, this has gone way astray and we need to start over".

Leading progressives, like Sens. Elizabeth Warren, called for ICE to be abolished during protests over the weekend. Since then, calls to abolish ICE have grown from a whisper to a shout.

ICE operates under Nielsen's Department of Homeland Security.

"The Democrats are making a strong push to abolish ICE, one of the smartest, toughest and most spirited law enforcement groups of men and women that I have ever seen", he said.

The president's latest pro-ICE comments come as the movement to abolish the agency have reached it's most popular point yet.

Republicans and immigration hardliners have welcomed the Democratic shift on the issue, believing that it spells electoral victory for the GOP outside of Democratic enclaves like NY and California.

His 7-year-old daughter Liliana clutched a sign she made, saying, "Stop the separation". She ran on the issue.

Though seasoned anti-Trump demonstrators packed the rallies, others were new to activism, including parents who said they felt compelled to act after heart-wrenching accounts of families who were torn apart.

Cornell Law School immigration professor Stephen Yale-Loehr said it was "extremely unlikely" that Congress will do away with ICE.

"Jesus was a refuge", she said.

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