Dem lawmaker: ICE has become a ‘rogue agency’

Rep. Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalDemocrats brush off calls for Biden to play hardball on Cabinet picks Trump, attorneys step up efforts to reverse election's outcome AOC, progressive Dems attack corporate greed during health care discussion MORE (D-Wash.) on Saturday called for a commission to investigate alternatives to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), telling The Hill that it has become a "rogue agency."

“We need to set up a commission that looks at the alternatives to ICE and really starts to understand how do we have these functions in a way that is accountable, transparent and humane,” Jayapal said in an interview.

The calls to dismantle ICE have picked up steam in recent days, with Rep. Mark PocanMark William PocanCapitol's COVID-19 spike could be bad Thanksgiving preview Katherine Clark secures No. 4 leadership spot for House Democrats Democrats to determine leaders after disappointing election MORE (D-Wis.) introducing a bill in the House to abolish it.


Jayapal told The Hill she wants to see reform in the way immigration law is applied.

“The calls really are to take a rogue agency and completely get rid of it and start over — nobody's saying ‘Don't have the functions that are necessary for the enforcement of immigration laws,’ ” she said.

New York has been a bellwether of such calls, first started by immigrant rights advocacy groups but recently picked up by national figures such as Democratic House candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon (D), Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandDemocratic senators urge Facebook to take action on anti-Muslim bigotry Social media responds to Harris making history: 'I feel like our ancestors are rejoicing' Ocasio-Cortez says she doesn't plan on 'staying in the House forever' MORE (D-N.Y.) and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D).

Rumored 2020 contenders have also decried the agency but stopped short of calling for its abolition, including Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersDemocrats brush off calls for Biden to play hardball on Cabinet picks What's behind the divisions over Biden's secretary of Labor? Young voters set turnout record, aiding Biden win MORE (I-Vt.) and Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisWomen set to take key roles in Biden administration Trump campaign appeals dismissal of Pennsylvania election challenge Pressure grows from GOP for Trump to recognize Biden election win MORE (D-Calif.).

And last week, 19 ICE officials sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenJudge says acting DHS secretary appointment unlawful, invalidates DACA suspension Biden's hard stand on foreign election interference signals funding fight The 'Anonymous' saga ended with a dud — a perfect example of the problem of Trump-era media MORE calling for a dissolution of the agency and a reshuffling of its authority into two new, separate agencies.

Republicans, however, have seemingly rejected the notion that ICE needs reform. President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden to nominate Linda Thomas-Greenfield for UN ambassador: reports Scranton dedicates 'Joe Biden Way' to honor president-elect Kasich: Republicans 'either in complete lockstep' or 'afraid' of Trump MORE tweeted on Saturday there was “zero chance” of abolishing ICE.

“To the great and brave men and women of ICE, do not worry or lose your spirit,” he wrote in a tweet. “The radical left Dems want you out. Next it will be all police. Zero chance, It will never happen!”

The Hill has reached out to ICE for comment.