Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) became the latest progressive Democrat to issue a public declaration about replacing or abolishing the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency on Saturday.
During one of hundreds of rallies across the country to protest the Trump administration’s immigration policies, Warren said that the nation’s immigration system needed an overhaul, in light of its functioning during this presidency.
“President Trump seems to think that the only way to have immigration rules is to rip parents from their families, is to treat rape victims and refugees like terrorists and to put children in cages,” Warren told a crowd at the Boston City Hall Plaza. “This is ugly. This is wrong. And this is not the way to run our country. The President’s deeply immoral actions have made it obvious, we need to rebuild our immigration system from top to bottom. Starting by replacing ICE with something that reflects our morality and values.”
The senator also spoke about her personal experience visiting a processing center for immigrants in McAllen, Texas, last week, defining the issue of family separation as one that crosses party lines.
“I spoke with ICE officials who have no idea how they are going to reunite babies scattered all over this country with their mothers,” Warren said in the flatbed of a truck at the plaza. “This isn’t about politics. This isn’t about Democrats or Republicans. This is about human beings. This is about children held in cages. This is about babies scattered all across this country. This is about mamas who want their children back.”
Members of Congress have been paying visits to the U.S.-Mexico border for the last few weeks attempting to gain information about the way in which the Trump administration’s policies have been impacting families and children. In that timespan, the administration issued an executive order ending the policy but has yet to devise a cohesive strategy to unite the families who have already been separated.
Many progressive Democrats and candidates nationwide have taken up the mantle of abolishing ICE or, at the very least, replacing it with another agency that could perform similar functions. Just two days ago, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) told CNN: “I believe you should get rid of it, start over, reimagine it and build something that actually works.”
At that stage, she had become the first sitting Democratic senator to go so far as to say the agency should be eliminated. Last week though, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) used more cautionary words on the issue saying, “I think there’s no question that we’ve got to critically reexamine ICE and its role and the way that it is being administered and the work it is doing. And we need to probably think about starting from scratch.”
Democratic candidates, including New York gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon, Randy Bryce, who is running in House Speaker Paul Ryan’s district, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who stunningly toppled Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY) in New York’s 14th Congressional District, have called for abolishing the agency.
Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) became the first member of Congress to pledge legislation that would abolish ICE.