Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) expressed gratitude for the work done by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and slammed Democrats for withholding their support for the agency in a speech delivered on the Senate floor on Monday.
“I’d like to take this opportunity to express my support for the 20,000 men and women of Immigration and Customs Enforcement,” the senator said.
“They work hard every day to keep drugs off our streets, to stop human trafficking, to protect our communities from gang violence, and yes, to enforce our immigration laws,” Cotton continued. “Theirs can be a thankless job, but they do it with courage, dedication, and professionalism. So I, for one, want to say, thank you.”
Numerous Democratic politicians have called for ICE to be abolished. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.) called ICE a “deportation force” and called for its elimination. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) said “we need to rebuild our immigration system from top to bottom starting by replacing ICE with something that reflects our morality and that works.”
On Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed a resolution expressing support for ICE. Eighteen Democrats supported the resolution, 34 voted no, and 133 voted present. Eight Democrats skipped the vote. Rep. Jerry Nadler (D., N.Y.) dismissed it as a “meaningless stunt.” Similarly, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D., Md.) called it “exactly the kind of ‘gotcha vote’ that alienates Americans from their government.”
The House resolution was contrasted with a proposed bill, sponsored by a handful of Democratic congressman, to do the opposite and abolish ICE. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) pointed out Wednesday that the Democratic lawmakers attacking ICE got cold feet on abolishing the agency when Republicans agreed to vote on the measure.
Cotton criticized Democrats who refused to vote in support of ICE. “Thirty-four Democrats condemned the men and women of ICE, and 141 don’t even have the courage of their conviction, they don’t even have the guts to vote yes or no.”
“Those who want to abolish ICE really just want open borders,” Cotton said. “Their obsession with open borders is so great that they are willing to risk the public safety to achieve it.”