Democratic Congressional Candidate Campaigns On Abolishing ICE [VIDEO]

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Thomas Phippen Thomas Phippen is acting editor in chief at the Daily Caller News Foundation.
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A Florida Democratic candidate for Congress promises to work to abolish the government’s immigration law enforcement agency if elected, in his first TV ad.

Capitalizing on the outrage surrounding the family separation practices, Matt Haggman, one of the seven candidates trying to win the Democratic nomination to challenge Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, released a 15-second ad on Twitter Tuesday promising work against the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency in the Department of Homeland Security.

“ICE under [President Donald] Trump targets children,” Haggman said in the ad. “In Congress, I’ll work to close ICE down. We can protect our borders without being cruel to kids.”


“Donna Shalala, she’s had her chance,” Haggman said to conclude the ad, attacking the leading candidate in the Democratic primary race who was Health and Human Services secretary under former President Bill Clinton.

ICE has “become a rogue agency that is tearing apart families in a way that is heartbreaking and un-American,” Haggman told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “Our tax dollars should not be going towards an inhumane system that separates families and threatens communities. This is not who we are as a country.”

The ad will run on Miami, Florida, network television stations, the Miami Herald reported. Ross-Lehtinen called the family separation policy “cruel” and one that “needlessly subjects both parents and children to emotional and psychological harm,” in a statement on Twitter Monday.

“Trump has tramped on basic American values by empowering and encouraging ICE to rip families apart and put kids into cages,” Haggman told TheDCNF. “And ICE has done his dirty work with complete abandon, insufficient oversight and a sadistic disregard for civil rights and basic decency.”

Simply halting the practice or slowly fixing the immigration agency — which, unlike, Customs and Border Protection operates across the U.S. — will fail, Haggman said. Haggman said that ideally, the U.S. wouldn’t need a national immigration police force in a reformed immigration system, one that “treats immigrants as human beings and renders ICE unnecessary.” The reform would include a pathway to citizenship, and permanent solutions for beneficiaries of the Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals and Temporary Protected Status programs.

Other midterm candidates have talked about abolishing ICE. The Democratic nominee for New Mexico’s first congressional district ran on abolishing ICE, as did one of the other primary contenders in the district. (RELATED: Abolishing ICE Looks Likely To Become 2020 Campaign Issue For Democrats)

Randy Bryce, a Democratic challenger for House Speaker Paul Ryan’s Wisconsin seat, told Newsweek that “ICE has grown power-hungry, sucking up more and more federal resources and directing them toward the deportation of children and families who have lived here for years and who are otherwise completely law-abiding.” Bryce said it’s important to find another agency to take over immigration law enforcement “so that only those who pose a true threat to our country’s security face deportation.”

Editor’s note: This post has been updated to include comments from Mr. Haggman.

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