House Dems prepare legislation to shut down ICE, shift responsibilities

House Dems prepare legislation to shut down ICE, shift responsibilities
© Getty Images

A group of House Democrats are reportedly preparing a bill that would shut down U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and assemble a bipartisan group to come up with a replacement.

The Washington Post reports that the bill, which is still undergoing revisions before it is introduced in the House, would also assess whether the agency has violated international human rights laws.

The legislation, dubbed “Abolish ICE,” comes amid growing calls on the left to abolish the agency, even as some Senate Democrats have broken with those calls.

ADVERTISEMENT

“The ICE brand has been so damaged by the president that it can no longer accomplish its original mission,” Rep. Mark PocanMark William PocanBlue wave poses governing risks for Dems Trump Jr., Dem congressman spar over Ellison's association with Farrakhan Dems seek ways to block Trump support for Saudi-led coalition in Yemen MORE (D-Wis.), who is sponsoring the bill, told The Post. “Even ICE agents recognize that ICE doesn’t do what it was intended to.”

More than 100 state and local elected officials signed an open letter released on Tuesday that calls for an end to ICE, according to The Intercept. The officials include state senators and representatives from Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois, New Mexico, Rhode Island and Illinois.

Though immigration activists have long rallied around dismantling the agency, the idea gained new ground in recent weeks following a widespread public outcry over President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: Dems playing destructive 'con game' with Kavanaugh Several Yale Law classmates who backed Kavanaugh call for misconduct investigation Freedom Caucus calls on Rosenstein to testify or resign MORE’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy, which led to the separation of thousands of migrant children from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border.

The “Abolish ICE” bill would reportedly task a bipartisan group of lawmakers and representatives from immigration-focused organizations with identifying the functions of ICE “that uphold the Constitution.” They would then propose how to shift those responsibilities to other federal agencies, The Post reported.

Trump last week criticized those in the Democratic Party who joined the calls to “abolish ICE,” calling the concept “demeaning” to law enforcement.

The bill is co-sponsored by Democratic Reps. Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalDems see Kavanaugh saga as playing to their advantage Blue wave poses governing risks for Dems Dem rep: Why shouldn’t Americans believe Trump is as corrupt as his friends? MORE (Wash.) and Adriano EspaillatAdriano de Jesus Espaillat CabralOvernight Defense: Officials rush to deny writing anonymous op-ed | Lawmakers offer measure on naming NATO headquarters after McCain | US, India sign deal on sharing intel Dems plan resolution to withdraw US forces from Yemen civil war Impeachment debate moves to center of midterm fight MORE (N.Y.).

“Now that we have a clear consensus that ICE must be abolished, it’s time for a discussion about a humane enforcement system,” the creator of the “Abolish ICE” slogan Sean McElwee told The Post. “That means ending the criminalization of migration, creating a fast path to citizenship ... and ending our inhumane immigrant detention system.”