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 KlobucharKlobuchar defends work record: Yes, I am a 'tough boss' Female Dems see double standard in Klobuchar accusations Klobuchar, O'Rourke visit Wisconsin as 2020 race heats up 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 Elizabeth GillibrandWarren set to announce plan for universal child care: reports Senate Dems introduce bill to prevent Trump from using disaster funds to build wall Klobuchar, O'Rourke visit Wisconsin as 2020 race heats up MORE (D-N.Y.) this week calling for ICE to be eliminated.

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenWarren set to announce plan for universal child care: reports Barack, Michelle Obama expected to refrain from endorsing in 2020 Dem primary: report Booker seeks dialogue about race as he kicks off 2020 campaign 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 HarrisHarris, Booker call for judgement on Jussie Smollett case to be withheld until investigation is completed Harris calls idea of Trump trusting Putin over US intel ‘height of irresponsibility and shameful’ Barack, Michelle Obama expected to refrain from endorsing in 2020 Dem primary: report 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."