Some lawmakers are calling for the end of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
Congressman Mark Pocan (D-WI) intends to introduce legislation to eliminate the agency. He made the announcement after a recent trip to visit the southern border. “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,” he said. “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.”
Support for this is growing. Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal is working with Pocan on the bill and said, “The legislation as we’re drafting it now would actually set up a commission that would have a period to work on alternatives to 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.”
While there is support for ICE to be eliminated, not everyone is Congress is so eager. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) said, “If you abolish ICE, 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.”
Some ICE employees have called for the agency to be split into 2 separate agencies amid the conversation.
“…the establishment of 2 separate and independent agencies will improve transparency, efficiency, and effectiveness,” wrote those employees in a letter to DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.
President Trump has defended the agency and his administrations’ immigration policies which lie at the core of the debate about the agency. He said, “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 poll from Rasmussen found most voters randomly surveyed said they were opposed to eliminating ICE; 55% were opposed while 25% favored abolishing the agency. The poll noted opposition was higher among Republicans (69%) whereas it was 53% opposed among Independents and 44% among Democrats.