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House GOP to bring Dem ‘abolish ICE’ bill up for vote

The Hill logo The Hill 7/12/2018 Juliegrace Brufke
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House GOP leaders plan to bring a Democratic measure calling for the abolishment of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to the House floor, hoping to force Democrats into a difficult vote.

The Democratic bill, introduced Thursday, would create a commission to examine ICE's responsibilities and then recommend transferring them to other agencies.

Republicans see the growing "abolish ICE" movement as a political winner that will make at least some Democrats running in swing districts uncomfortable.

"Democrats have been trying to make July 4th about abolishing ICE which is a radical, extreme position that would lead to open borders and undermine America's national security," House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) told The Hill.

"I think it's the wrong approach. I think everyone ought to be on record about where they stand on that issue."

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said he planned to bring the Democratic bill to the floor.

The Establishing a Humane Immigration Enforcement System Act was introduced Thursday by Reps. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.).

They argue that ICE, which was created in 2003 as part of a new Homeland Security Department, has become "militarized" in its approach to deportations.

"President Trump's blanket directive to round up and target all undocumented immigrants underscores the unchecked power which ICE has used to terrorize our communities," Pocan said in a statement. "From conducting raids at garden centers and meatpacking plants to targeting families outside churches and schools, the president is using ICE as a mass-deportation force to rip apart the moral fabric of our nation."

Republicans have blasted the effort, arguing dissolving the agency would lead to an influx of human and drug trafficking, gang violence and increase the country's risk of being subjected to an act of terrorism.

And some Democrats have signaled they do not support the effort.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has stopped short of calling for ICE's abolishment, for example.

"No American likes the separation of children and that's an awful thing and that's got to be stopped but ICE does do some things that are very important," he said at a press conference in Buffalo earlier this month.

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