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Gillibrand calls to eliminate ICE: 'Get rid of it, start over'

Democratic Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandOvernight Defense: Defense bill among Congress's year-end scramble | Iranian scientist's assassination adds hurdles to Biden's plan on nuclear deal | Navy scrapping USS Bonhomme Richard after fire Democratic senators urge Facebook to take action on anti-Muslim bigotry Social media responds to Harris making history: 'I feel like our ancestors are rejoicing' MORE (N.Y.) became the first sitting senator on Thursday to call for the elimination of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), telling CNN that the agency should be "reimagined."

In an interview with CNN's Chris Cuomo, the New York Democrat was asked whether she agreed with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who defeated 10-term incumbent Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.) in a primary Tuesday while running on a platform to fully shut down ICE.

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“Well, I agree with it. I don’t think ICE today is working as intended," Gillibrand said, referring to Ocasio-Cortez's platform.

Pressed on the issue by Cuomo, Gillibrand went further than her liberal colleagues including Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersFormer Sanders press secretary: 'Principal concern' of Biden appointments should be policy DeVos knocks free college push as 'socialist takeover of higher education' The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Capital One — Giuliani denies discussing preemptive pardon with Trump MORE (I-Vt.) and Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisMiddle East: Quick start for Biden diplomacy Hillicon Valley: GOP chairman says defense bill leaves out Section 230 repeal | Senate panel advances FCC nominee | Krebs says threats to election officials 'undermining democracy' Top intelligence official says China targeting foreign influence at incoming Biden administration MORE (D-Calif.), who have called for the agency to be examined but not fully abolished.

"I believe that it has become a deportation force. And I think you should separate out the criminal justice from the immigration issues," she continued. "I think you should reimagine ICE under a new agency, with a very different mission, and take those two missions out. So we believe that we should protect families that need our help, and that is not what ICE is doing today."

"And that's why I believe you should get rid of it, start over, reimagine it and build something that actually works," she added.

Ocasio-Cortez stunned Washington on Tuesday night with her double-digit victory over Crowley, a member of the House Democratic leadership and someone once considered to be in line to succeed Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOn The Money: Funding bill hits snag as shutdown deadline looms | Pelosi, Schumer endorse 8 billion plan as basis for stimulus talks | Poll: Most Americans support raising taxes on those making at least 0K Battle heats up for House Foreign Affairs gavel Nearly one-third of US adults expect to lose employment income: Census Bureau MORE (D-Calif.) as a possible Speaker.

Gillibrand, considered a possible 2020 Democratic presidential contender, has criticized the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" immigration policy and introduced legislation to require ICE agents to keep records of immigration checks they perform on train and bus passengers.

“Keeping our country safe cannot come at a cost to basic human rights. When border patrol agents stop and question people in New York and in many places across the country, they aren’t keeping data about why they targeted a particular person or what happened during their encounter,” Gillibrand said in a statement last month.