House GOP to bring Dem ‘abolish ICE’ bill up for vote

House GOP leaders plan to bring a Democratic measure calling for the abolishment of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to the House floor, hoping to force Democrats into a difficult vote.

The Democratic bill, introduced Thursday, would create a commission to examine ICE’s responsibilities and then recommend transferring them to other agencies.

Republicans see the growing “abolish ICE” movement as a political winner that will make at least some Democrats running in swing districts uncomfortable.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Democrats have been trying to make July 4th about abolishing ICE, which is a radical, extreme position that would lead to open borders and undermine America's national security,” House Majority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseLive updates on impeachment: Schiff fires warning at GOP over whistleblower Bottom Line Trump allies assail impeachment on process while House Democrats promise open hearings soon MORE (R-La.) told The Hill.

“I think it's the wrong approach. I think everyone ought to be on record about where they stand on that issue.”

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyMcCarthy says views on impeachment won't change even if Taylor's testimony is confirmed House Republicans call impeachment hearing 'boring,' dismiss Taylor testimony as hearsay The Hill's Morning Report - Diplomats kick off public evidence about Trump, Ukraine MORE (R-Calif.) said he planned to bring the Democratic bill to the floor.

The Establishing a Humane Immigration Enforcement System Act was introduced Thursday by Reps. Mark PocanMark William PocanGOP senator rips into Pelosi at Trump rally: 'It must suck to be that dumb' House progressives to push for floor amendments on Pelosi drug price bill How Trump and Pelosi went from bad to worse MORE (D-Wis.), Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalProgressive House Democrat unveils bill to allow state-based 'Medicare for All' Progressives press Democrats to rethink Israel policy Democratic lawmakers call on Judiciary Committee to advance 'revenge porn' law MORE (D-Wash.) and Adriano EspaillatAdriano de Jesus Espaillat CabralOvernight Defense: Protests at Trump's NYC Veterans Day speech | House Dems release Pentagon official's deposition transcript | Lawmakers ask Trump to rescind Erdogan invite Bipartisan House members call on Trump to rescind Erdoğan invitation Testimony from GOP diplomat complicates Trump defense MORE (D-N.Y.).

They argue that ICE, which was created in 2003 as part of a new Homeland Security Department, has become “militarized” in its approach to deportations.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpButtigieg surges ahead of Iowa caucuses Biden leads among Latino Democrats in Texas, California Kavanaugh hailed by conservative gathering in first public speech since confirmation MORE’s blanket directive to round up and target all undocumented immigrants underscores the unchecked power which ICE has used to terrorize our communities,” Pocan said in a statement. “From conducting raids at garden centers and meatpacking plants to targeting families outside churches and schools, the president is using ICE as a mass-deportation force to rip apart the moral fabric of our nation.”

Republicans have blasted the effort, arguing dissolving the agency would lead to an influx of human and drug trafficking and gang violence and increase the country's risk of being subjected to an act of terrorism. 

And some Democrats have signaled they do not support the effort.

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerOvernight Health Care: Trump officials making changes to drug pricing proposal | House panel advances flavored e-cig ban | Senators press FDA tobacco chief on vaping ban Chad Wolf becomes acting DHS secretary Schumer blocks drug pricing measure during Senate fight, seeking larger action MORE (D-N.Y.) has stopped short of calling for ICE’s abolishment, for example.

“No American likes the separation of children and that’s an awful thing and that’s got to be stopped, but ICE does do some things that are very important,” he said at a press conference in Buffalo earlier this month. 

Scalise first pushed for the move during meetings with the deputy whip team and at the Republican Study Committee steering committee meeting, where members were receptive to the idea, according to sources with knowledge of the discussions.