Some Democrats with eye on 2020: 'Abolish ICE'

An encampment with the Occupy ICE movement grew in June 2018 in front of Portland's US Immigration and Customs Enforcement field offices

An encampment with the Occupy ICE movement grew in June 2018 in front of Portland's US Immigration and Customs Enforcement field offices

Democrats considering a presidential run in 2020 are joining the calls to overhaul USA immigration enforcement - and some of them are even echoing activists" calls to "abolish ICE'.

Tweeting from New Jersey, Trump said that Democrats "are making a strong push to abolish ICE, one of the smartest, toughest and most spirited law enforcement groups of men and women that I have ever seen".

Trump, in a pair of Twitter messages on Saturday morning ahead of the announcement, accused Democrats of wanting to abolish the agency - a handful do, and want a new agency in its place - and following that, "all police", and concluded, "Zero chance".

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of NY said Immigration and Customs Enforcement, known as ICE, has "become a deportation force" and wants to get rid of it and start over.

This week, Democratic Kirsten Gillibrand of NY became the first senator to announce support for the abolishment of ICE.

Ocasio-Cortez, who is part of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, has made the abolition of ICE a central pillar of her candidacy.

Momentum has been steadily building to do away with ICE, which was created in 2003, following this week's upset victory of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who successfully unseated a senior Democrat in the House of Representatives for the party's nomination. "Because they're going to get beaten so badly, ' he said in an interview with 'Sunday Morning Futures" that airs onFox News Sunday morning. "I did nothing wrong", he said.

In this turbulent political context, one of the first voices to call for the abolition of ICE was that of NY gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon, who as an actress played the part of Miranda in the popular TV series "Sex and the City".

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Around her, thousands waved signs: "I care, do you?" some read, referencing a jacket the first lady wore when visiting child migrants amid the global furor over the administration's zero-tolerance policy that forced the separation of more than 2,000 children from their parents.

Immigrant advocacy groups say they're thrilled - and surprised - to see the issue gaining traction among those not tied to immigration.

The Department of Homeland Security says Ronald D. Vitiello will serve as deputy director of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and also take on the role of ICE's acting director.

ICE spokeswoman Liz Johnson condemned calls to abolish the agency as "dangerously misguided" in a statement Friday. Families are still separated.

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., "believes that ICE has been on the wrong end of far too many inhumane and unconstitutional practices to be allowed to continue without an immediate and fundamental overhaul", said her spokesman, Drew Hammill.

He also tweeted that the "brave men and women of ICE. are doing a fantastic job of keeping us safe by eradicating the worst criminal elements". "These radical protesters want ANARCHY - but the only response they will find from our government is LAW AND ORDER!"

"Federal law enforcement officers were able to effectively remove the demonstrators and blockades from in front of the entrances to the facility", said L. Eric Patterson, director of the Federal Protective Service.

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