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.

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“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 ScaliseAmash storm hits Capitol Hill Trump hits Amash after congressman doubles down on impeachment talk Trump encouraged Scalise to run for governor in Louisiana: report 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 McCarthyThe Hill's Morning Report - Pelosi remains firm despite new impeachment push Congress, White House near deal on spending, debt limit On The Money: Congress, White House aim to include debt limit increase in spending deal | McConnell optimistic budget deal near | Carson defends HUD eviction plan | Senate votes to undo tax hike on Gold Star families 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 PocanThe Memo: Trump allies see impeachment push backfiring on Democrats House Democrats press leaders to start Trump impeachment WHIP LIST: Dems who support an impeachment inquiry against President Trump MORE (D-Wis.), Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalThe Hill's Morning Report - Pelosi remains firm despite new impeachment push WHIP LIST: Dems who support an impeachment inquiry against President Trump Muslim lawmakers host Ramadan iftar to break fast at Capitol MORE (D-Wash.) and Adriano EspaillatAdriano de Jesus Espaillat CabralDems charge ahead on immigration Hispanic Caucus asks for meeting with top immigration official New Zealand mosque killings raise fears among US Muslims 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 TrumpTrump rips Dems' demands, impeachment talk: 'Witch Hunt continues!' Nevada Senate passes bill that would give Electoral College votes to winner of national popular vote The Hill's Morning Report - Pelosi remains firm despite new impeachment push 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 SchumerSchumer wants investigation into Chinese-designed New York subway cars Getting serious about infrastructure Schumer calls on McConnell to hold vote on Equality Act 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.