First Democratic Senator Calls for Abolishing ICE

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand sits with protesters in Washington, June 28, 2018. (Jonathan Ernst)

Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand on Thursday became the first current member of the Senate to endorse the abolition of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, claiming that the agency has become a “deportation force.”

“I don’t think ICE today is working as intended,” New York’s junior senator told CNN host Chris Cuomo. “I think you should separate the criminal justice from the immigration issues. I think you should reimagine ICE under a new agency with a very different mission and take those two missions out.”

“We believe that we should protect families that need our help, and that is not what ICE is doing today, and that’s why I believe you should get rid of it, start over, reimagine it, and build something that actually works,” Gillibrand concluded.

Gillibrand’s positions are an almost-180-degree pivot from the hawkish stance on immigration that she took as a House member representing a conservative district in upstate New York.

“Congresswoman Gillibrand has been a firm opponent of any proposal that would give amnesty to illegal aliens,” the platform on her old campaign website reads. “The federal government must provide the necessary resources to secure our borders, which is critical for America’s economic and national security.”

The campaign platform goes on to express support for increasing the number of border-patrol agents and installing technology along the border to catch human and drug smugglers.

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