The #AbolishICE platform is creeping its way into the mainstream Democratic Party’s platform. While the party’s leaders — like Chuck Schumer — see the danger of making this the platform they run on in November, others, like Democratic Socialist Alexandria Octavio-Cortez, use it as one of their main policy agendas.
On Thursday, three Democratic members of Congress proposed legislation seeking to abolish ICE called the Establishing a Humane Immigration Enforcement System Act. The bill, introduced by Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) and co-sponsored by Reps. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.), would “convene a commission of experts to provide a roadmap for Congress to implement a humane immigration enforcement system that upholds the dignity of all individuals, which includes terminating the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) within one year of enactment.”
Never did the Democrats think that the Republican-controlled House would actually send that measure to the House floor for voting. But now some senior Republicans want to do just that.
“Abolishing ICE… is a radical, extreme position that would lead to open borders and undermine America’s national security,” House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) told The Hill on Thursday. “I think it’s the wrong approach. I think everyone ought to be on record about where they stand on that issue.”
House Speaker Paul Ryan also expressed dismay at the Democratic push to abolish ICE. “This is the agency that gets gangs out of communities, that helps prevent drugs from flowing into our schools, that rescues people from human trafficking,” he said. “They want to get rid of this agency?”
Republicans are suggesting all Democrats put their votes where their mouth is and take a formal stance on whether to abolish ICE, which would almost certainly cause chaos within the Democratic Party, forcing a split within the party just before the elections.
Amid those calls, the three members who proposed that legislation have said they would vote “no” to their own bill.
“We know Speaker Ryan is not serious about passing our ‘Establishing a Humane Immigration Enforcement System Act,’ so members of Congress, advocacy groups, and impacted communities will not engage in this political stunt,” the three Democrats proposing the bill said in a joint statement Thursday night. “If Speaker Ryan puts our bill on the floor, we plan to vote no and will instead use the opportunity to force an urgently needed and long-overdue conversation on the House floor.”
Maybe these Democrats saw the polls regarding their proposal — according to a Politico Poll, only 1 in 4 Americans are in favor of abolishing ICE.