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Abolish ICE, transfer critical functions: Rep. Mark Pocan

Jul 3, 2018
In The News

Over the past year, President Donald Trump has turned Immigration and Customs Enforcement into a mass deportation force to support his political agenda, so misusing the agency that it’s no longer effective. In response, I’m proposing legislation to abolish ICE and transfer its legitimate functions to other government agencies.

We know President Trump will tweet lies about Democrats and immigration. He will try to paint Democrats as the party of open borders that stands up for criminals and against law and order. These lies are part of his cynical strategy to rile up his base and build support for his wall.

Abolishing ICE does not mean open borders. ICE is the agency directed by the president to aggressively round up and detain individuals already living in our country, not the agency tasked with patrolling the border. Under my legislation, we would still have agents stationed to secure the border.

Further, abolishing ICE does not mean that the United States will suddenly be overrun with crime or that we’re abandoning law and order. Under my plan, critical law enforcement functions of ICE — including fighting terrorism, organized crime, human trafficking and drug trafficking — would be transferred to other agencies that already handle these issues effectively.

ICE was created after the Sept. 11 attacks largely to protect our country from national security threats and terrorism, but the president’s focus on deporting people with minor infractions like traffic tickets makes us less safe since we can no longer effectively address serious threats.

As elected officials, we’re tasked with solving our nation’s most pressing problems, which include our broken immigration system. America regularly updates the structure of federal agencies, and under President Trump’s administration, getting rid of ICE and implementing a humane system has never been more necessary. We cannot allow the president’s rhetoric, threats and outright lies stop us from doing what is right.

Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Wis., co-chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus.