DNC spokeswoman calls for reforming ICE, not abolishing it

Democratic National Committee (DNC) communications director Xochitl Hinojosa called for the reform of  Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on Monday but stopped short of endorsing calls from progressive candidates and lawmakers to abolish the government agency.

“ICE needs to be reformed. There’s no doubt about that," Hinojosa told Hill.TV's Buck Sexton and Krystal Ball on "Rising." 

Hinojosa blamed President TrumpDonald John TrumpJoe Arpaio loses bid for his old position as sheriff Trump brushes off view that Russia denigrating Biden: 'Nobody's been tougher on Russia than I have' Trump tees up executive orders on economy but won't sign yet MORE's policies for the deficiencies of ICE, however, saying "but I think that whenever you’re talking about something like ICE, the problem is at the top."

"Whenever you have immigration enforcement — and you’ve heard Republicans talk about this, they want to build their wall because it excites their base, they don’t necessarily want to build a wall because it actually isgood public policy," she said. "It's [similar] with ICE, it's at the top. The way that you get rid and reform ICE is reforming at the top and electing Democrats, and so that’s getting rid of Donald Trump.” 

A number of progressive Democratic candidates, perhaps most notably Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York, have rallied their bases with calls to abolish the government agency. 

Democratic lawmakers, including Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandExpanding our health force can save lives and create jobs simultaneously Sanders offers bill to tax billionaires' wealth gains during pandemic Senate Democrats demand answers on migrant child trafficking during pandemic MORE (N.Y.), have also called for ICE's elimination. 

However, other establishment Democrats have suggested they don't want to be seen as calling for the agency's abolishment, saying it could aid Republicans ahead of the midterms

Trump traveled to Ohio last week to rally support for Republican Troy Balderson ahead of Tuesday's special election House race and praised the government agency. 

“We’re protecting American workers, supporting American law enforcement — including ICE,” the president said at the campaign rally. “We love ICE.”

— Julia Manchester