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 KlobucharBottom line Judd Gregg: Biden — a path to the presidency, or not Vogue's Anna Wintour urges Biden to pick woman of color for VP 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 GillibrandSenate Dems press DOJ over coronavirus safety precautions in juvenile detention centers Senate Democrat introduces bill to protect food supply It's as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process MORE (D-N.Y.) this week calling for ICE to be eliminated.

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenGeorge Floyd's death ramps up the pressure on Biden for a black VP Judd Gregg: Biden — a path to the presidency, or not Vogue's Anna Wintour urges Biden to pick woman of color for VP 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: Trump 'just tear-gassed peaceful protesters for a photo op' Harris, Jeffries question why Manafort, Cohen released while others remain in prison George Floyd's death ramps up the pressure on Biden for a black VP 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."