As More Democrats Push To Abolish ICE, Trump Lashes Out

While President Trump doubles down on his hardline immigration policies, an increasing number of Democrats call to dismantle and restructure U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez takes a moment between interviews in New York, Wednesday, June 27, 2018. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez takes a moment between interviews in New York, Wednesday, June 27, 2018. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

On Thursday, while the Trump administration doubled down on the push to indefinitely detain immigrant families, New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D) became the first sitting senator to call for the abolishment of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE). Gillibrand called the agency a “deportation force,” and argued that it should be dismantled and reimagined.

Once a rallying call of more radical activists, the concept of abolishing ICE is beginning to pick up steam amongst candidates and elected officials in the Democratic Party. On Tuesday, 28-year-old activist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defeated powerful incumbent Joe Crowley in the New York primary elections, in a stunning upset. A centerpiece of Ocasio-Cortez’s platform is the dismantling of ICE and the removal of immigration enforcement from the purview of the Department of Homeland Security. Given the large percentage of Democrats in Ocasio-Cortez’s district, it’s highly likely that she will be elected come November, bringing this platform to the halls of Congress.

Following her win and Gillibrand’s announcement, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio joined in on the calls to abolish ICE, calling the agency broken and divisive.

Saturday morning during a rally in Boston, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D) joined the call, arguing the need to replace “ICE with something that reflects our morality and that works.”

Some seated politicians have gone beyond calls, and are looking into the reality of dismantling or restructuring the institution. On June 25, Democratic Representative Mark Pocan of Wisconsin announced that he would draft legislation to abolish ICE, following a trip to the southern border where he witnessed President Trump’s immigration policy first hand.

His legislation is cosponsored by a handful of fellow Democrats, including Rep. Pramila Jayapal, who was recently arrested on Thursday during a nonviolent protest opposing the current immigration policy and the separation of migrant families. Nearly 2,000 women took part in the rally, marching from the Department of Justice to the Hart Senate building where they remained until around 600 were arrested. The scope of this rally and the participation of a myriad of elected Democrats suggests that the movement to fight the President’s xenophobic attacks on immigrants is just getting started. Today, nationwide protests are scheduled to call for the end of the zero-tolerance policy, family detention, and family separation. Many of the aforementioned politicians are slated to attend these marches.

There is an array of Democrats also calling for ICE to be abolished beyond those mentioned here. While it still faces a relatively small level of support – especially if one considers the current breakdown of Congress – the stance that the agency needs to be, at the very least, heavily reworked, is no longer a fringe concept.

And while President Trump continues to double down on cruel immigration rhetoric and policy, it’s clear that the resistance to his administration is gearing up for quite a fight – one that’s sure to take center stage as we get closer and closer to November.

News // Democratic Party / Donald Trump / ICE / Immigration