Dems say they'll vote 'no' on their 'Abolish ICE' legislation

Dems say they'll vote 'no' on their 'Abolish ICE' legislation
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A group of Democrats who introduced legislation to abolish U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said they will vote against the measure if GOP leadership follows through with their vow to bring it to the House floor.

Reps. Mark PocanMark William PocanOvernight Defense: 'Tens of thousands' of National Guard troops could be activated for coronavirus response | Hospital ships could take week to deploy | Trump says military to help Americans stuck in Peru Democrats introduce bill to send coronavirus tests to US troops in Middle East US general: Afghanistan deployments paused to protect troops from coronavirus MORE (D-Wis.), Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalPelosi says House will review Senate coronavirus stimulus package Critical supplies shortage hampers hospitals, health providers Washington state lawmakers warn health workers running low on protective gear MORE (D-Wash.) and Adriano EspaillatAdriano de Jesus Espaillat CabralObama presses for social distancing policies to remain in place Self-quarantined New York lawmaker: 'We should be in total lockdown' Activists, analysts demand Congress consider immigrants in coronavirus package MORE (D-N.Y.) released a statement Thursday accusing GOP leaders of exploiting the legislation for political gain after leadership confirmed it planned to hold a vote.

While the Democratic lawmakers said they plan to vote against their own measure – which would create a commission to examine ICE’s responsibilities and then recommend transferring them to other agencies – they said they welcome the opportunity for debate.

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"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 Democrats said in a joint statement.

"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," it continued. "We will discuss the thousands of families still separated by President TrumpDonald John TrumpWith VP pick, Biden can't play small ball in a long ball world Coronavirus hits defense contractor jobs Wake up America, your country doesn't value your life MORE’s cruel zero-tolerance policy, the 800,000 young people whose lives have been thrown into turmoil by the President’s decision to end DACA, and the abuses carried out by Immigration and Customs Enforcement."

"We look forward to the day that we have meaningful action on the issues covered by our bill."

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthySunday shows preview: Lawmakers, state governors talk coronavirus, stimulus package and resources as pandemic rages on Lysol, disinfecting wipes and face masks mark coronavirus vote in House Trump signs T coronavirus relief package MORE (R-Calif.) had confirmed earlier Thursday that he planned to schedule a vote on the bill.

Republicans are looking to force Democrats to take a difficult vote, placing Democrats in swing districts that have been critical of the agency in a challenging situation.

The GOP lawmakers said Democrats should be willing to show their constituents where they actually stand on the issue. 

“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 ScalisePelosi scrambles to secure quick passage of coronavirus aid House GOP whip team seeks to get Republicans behind Senate coronavirus bill 14 things to know today about coronavirus 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.”

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

Critics of ICE, which was created in 2003 as part of a new Homeland Security Department, argue it's become “militarized” in its approach to deportations.