Politics

Democrats Introduce Bill To Abolish ICE, GOP Fires Back

REUTERS/Julio-César Chávez

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Molly Prince Politics Reporter

House Democrats introduced legislation Thursday that would terminate U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), prompting Senate Republicans to respond with a resolution of their own.

Democratic Reps. Mark Pocan of Wisconsin, Pramila Jayapal of Washington and Adriano Espaillat of New York introduced the Establishing a Humane Immigration Enforcement Act, which would abolish ICE within one year of enactment, and also assemble a commission tasked with setting up a new immigration enforcement agency.

The representatives issued a press release asserting that ICE is “out of control” and further blamed President Donald Trump for the agency failing to carry out its intended mission.

“The President is using ICE as a mass-deportation force to rip apart the moral fabric of our nation,” said Pocan. “Sadly, President Trump has so misused ICE that the agency can no longer accomplish its goals effectively. As a result, the best path forward is this legislation which would end ICE and transfer its critical functions to other executive agencies.”

“In the era of President Trump, ICE has been granted an unlimited range to terrorize Latino communities around the country, regardless of citizenship or status,” Espaillat said. (RELATED: Ted Cruz Announces Legislation To Keep Illegal Immigrant Families Together)

Republican Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and John Kennedy of Louisiana fired back with a resolution denouncing “radical calls for the dissolution of ICE.”

“ICE agents are the front line when it comes to enforcing our immigration laws. They risk their lives on a daily basis to protect American citizens and immigrants from violet criminals, drug cartels, and human traffickers,” Cruz said. “Calls to abolish ICE not only disregard our immigration laws and give implicit license to those who want to enter our country illegally, they also smear the heroic sacrifices of ICE agents and put people at risk, especially in border states like Texas.”

“I will continue to support the brave men and women who serve as ICE agents, and urge my colleagues to stand by ICE and honor the key role it plays in keeping our country safe,” Cruz said.

“With the ever present threat of MS-13 and international terrorism, along with an opioid crisis being fought at our border, abolishing ICE is unthinkable,” Kennedy said. “ICE officers are in the trenches fighting those threats and protecting American families from the cross-border crime and illegal immigration that endanger our families. ICE deserves our gratitude and respect, not scorn and ridicule.”

Cruz and Kennedy were joined by 14 other senators in their resolution.

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