Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York stated Wednesday that her calls to abolish the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) were misconstrued, claiming that despite saying “we need to abolish ICE,” she believes America still needs an agency that will fulfill the goals that ICE was created to achieve.
Claiming that the agency has strayed from its intended duties, Gillibrand argued that ICE in its current form should be eliminated, but that a new agency should replace it that will execute the same mission of enforcing U.S. immigration laws and investigating criminal activity of foreign nationals residing within the country.
“Give [ICE] a new name and a new directive,” Gillibrand told The Post-Star‘s editorial board.
Gillibrand recommended that the government “reimagine” the agency, however, her office did not respond to requests from The Daily Caller News Foundation to clarify what her proposed agency would look like and how it would differ from ICE’s current form.
The New York senator said that she does not support open borders, and she agrees with ICE’s mission, but claims President Donald Trump and his administration have ruined the reputation of the agency by cracking down on immigrants who illegally cross the border.
Nineteen ICE agents reportedly sent letters to Gillibrand complaining that their reputation has been tarnished, leading her to arrive at her policy stance.
“Local law enforcement will not work with them,” Gillibrand said. “Local elected officials aren’t working with them.”
Gillibrand received backlash in late June after saying multiple times that ICE needs to be abolished. Her comments came at a time when numerous other congressmen were advocating for the abolishment of the agency as well.
House Democrats introduced a bill in early July to abolish ICE, but after House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy announced he planned to bring the proposed bill to a vote, those same Democrats called it a “political stunt” and vowed to vote against their own proposal.
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