Klobuchar on ICE: 'We're always going to need immigration enforcement'

Klobuchar on ICE: 'We're always going to need immigration enforcement'
© Greg Nash

Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharSanders opens up 15-point lead in New Hampshire: Poll Poll: 56 percent of Democrats say billionaire politicians more likely to cater to special interests Support for Biden, Sanders ticks up nationally: poll MORE (D-Minn.) on Sunday declined to back calls to abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a position several of her Democratic colleagues have supported.

"I think what has to change are the policies, and the people that are making these policies are making horrendous decisions like separating kids from their parents," she said on ABC's "This Week."

"We are always going to need immigration enforcement," Klobuchar added. "I think we know that. We are a major country with major borders."

Klobuchar was asked about eliminating ICE amid growing calls from Democrats to abolish the immigration enforcement agency. 

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The issue has quickly become a litmus test for Democrats, with Sens. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandIt's time for paid leave for all GOP-Biden feud looms over impeachment trial Sanders defends vote against USMCA: 'Not a single damn mention' of climate change MORE (D-N.Y.) this week calling for ICE to be eliminated.

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenBiden on whether Sanders can unify party as nominee: 'It depends' Overnight Health Care — Presented by Philip Morris International — HHS has no plans to declare emergency over coronavirus | GOP senator calls for travel ban to stop outbreak | Warren releases plan to contain infectious diseases Biden lines up high-profile surrogates to campaign in Iowa MORE (D-Mass.) on Saturday also called for "replacing ICE" during a rally in Boston against the administration's immigration policies, while Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisSanders allies in new uproar over DNC convention appointments Biden leads 2020 pack in congressional endorsements Harris on 2020 endorsement: 'I am not thinking about it right now' MORE (D-Calif.) has called to "reexamine ICE" and "think about starting from scratch."

The push to abolish ICE grew among Democrats last week following Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's upset defeat of Rep. Joseph Crowley in a Democratic primary in New York. Ocasio-Cortez has called for abolishing ICE, with her win over the fourth-ranking House Democrat sending reverberations through the party.

ICE received increased scrutiny recently following backlash over the administration's "zero tolerance" immigration policy at the border, which led to the separation and detention of thousands of children away from their parents while the adults face prosecution for illegally entering the U.S.

Trump signed an executive order to end the practice last month, and has ripped calls from Democrats to abolish ICE, predicting this weekend that lawmakers who back the effort are "going to get beaten so badly."

"I am just appalled by how this administration has been talking about immigrants," Klobuchar said Sunday while calling for comprehensive immigration reform. "They don't diminish America, they are America."