Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D., N.M.), chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, on Sunday dodged a question from ABC’s Martha Raddatz about whether it is good message for Democrats to call for abolishing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, also referred to as ICE.
“Congressman Luján, I want to go back to ICE; is that a good message for the Democrats? Abolishing ICE?” Raddatz asked the congressman.
Luján didn’t mention ICE in his response and instead deflected to attack Republicans, including Rep. Steve Stivers (R., Ohio), who was part of the joint interview.
Democrats want to work on a bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform package to address all of our issues across the country. I think Mr. Stivers would agree that we have to do that. It’s under Speaker Paul Ryan that Republicans refuse to bring the Dream Act to the floor, refuse to bring the USA Act, which is a bipartisan bill to overturn President Trump’s demeaning actions on dreamers that also includes border security protections in addition to what we can do with the Dream Act itself. Democrats are standing strong when it comes to comprehensive immigration reform, conversation with the American people that is fair, tough and will be good for America. And Mr. Stivers knows that there’s holes in his argument today.
“I’m going to have to stop you both there. I think you had a fair chance to make your arguments,” Raddatz said.
“He didn’t talk about ICE, did he?” Stivers mentioned.
“No, he did not answer that question, but thanks very much for joining us,” Raddatz said. Luján tried to respond but was cut off by Raddatz. “We’re going to have to stop there. You got your chance,” she said.
There is a growing movement among liberals and progressives to abolish ICE. Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) and Kristen Gillibrand (D., N.Y.) called for ICE to be abolished. Cynthia Nixon, who is challenging New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the Democratic primary, called ICE a “terrorist organization” and said it should be abolished. Other progressive candidates and activists have adopted the call as part of their platform amid the Trump administration’s controversial zero tolerance policy on illegal immigration. Rep. Mark Pocan (D., Wis.) introduced legislation which would abolish the agency. Other Democratic senators like Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) have indicated an openness to abolishing ICE and starting from scratch, but they have been hesitant to fully embrace the idea.
A Washington Free Beacon analysis detailed what abolishing ICE would look like for the country and enforcing immigration laws.