New Progressive Hero Leads Battle To Abolish ICE
President Trump is pressuring a Republican-led Congress for $8.3 billion to fund the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for 2019. The administration’s effort is already working up Democrats who have balked at the amount requested saying that Republicans might designate the money to speed up Trump’s deportations.
The pushback by Democrats comes with what was once considered a fringe message among Democrats to abolish ICE. Thanks to New York’s progressive Democratic nominee Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, that once-fringe movement appears to have gained more traction in recent weeks within the Democratic Party.
Alexandria’s Message to Abolish ICE
Alexandria won the Democratic primary in New York replacing Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY) and with it, she appears to be advancing a more progressive agenda among congressional Democrats. Especially around immigration. Meanwhile, this appears to be a bridge too far for Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi (Cali.) and Chuck Schumer (NY) are pushing back against Cortez’ message to abolish ICE.
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Ocasio-Cortez campaigned on wanting to get rid of ICE, saying that that the organization, formed under the Homeland Security Act, is a product of the same suite of reactionary post 9-11 Bush-era legislation that gave us the Iraq War, and led to our government spying on ordinary citizens en masse, and led to “enhanced interrogation” (torture) policies that remain a black mark on America’s legacy. With daily headlines of ICE detaining immigrant children, especially in New York, Cortez has said that ICE is:
“…an enforcement agency that takes on more of a paramilitary tone every single day.”
But Donald Trump has increased his rhetoric and determination to crack down on illegal immigrants since becoming President. Now with the President’s pressure on Congress to send billions of dollars to ICE, it makes Cortez’s description of the organization seem likely to become more of a reality.
More Democrats support Abolishing ICE
The fact that a call to abolish ICE has gotten the attention of Pelosi and Schumer suggests that the message has gone mainstream. Both Democratic leaders have said that it would be preferable to reform the agency rather than to abolish it. As a rising political favorite, Ocasio-Cortez is getting more support from Democrats such as Sen. Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY), Sen. Corey Booker (D-NJ) and even New York Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Other signs that the message to abolish ICE has gone mainstream is with the reaction from Republicans. Republicans have accused Democrats who are supporting the movement of shielding illegal immigrants, which Republicans insist includes a tide of violent criminals. Even when it is clear that huge numbers of these migrants are in fact refugees fleeing violence. President Trump has already accused Democrats of protecting MS-13, a violent gang that originated from South American that President Trump routinely brings up as justification for his anti-immigration agenda.
Ocasio-Cortez, however, holds the position that the abolishment of ICE is not a fringe position. She has said that almost everyone recognizes that the Homeland Security Act that created ICE was a mistake. She included other regrets left over from the Bush era, such as the Iraq War and the Patriot Act. Since President Bush left office, many still express regrets of the Iraq War, most notably Trump, who nonetheless makes heartless use of ICE.
Even without the message to abolish ICE, Democrats are still likely to clash with Republicans over the surge of funding as both parties will need to be included to pass spending bills.
Here is a clip of Ocasio-Cortez confronting Joe Crowley about abolishing ICE.
Featured image via YouTube