In response to growing calls to abolish U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a group of 15 Republican senators introduced a resolution on Wednesday voicing support for the agency.
U.S. Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Joe Kennedy (R-LA) noted that ICE agents rescued 1,422 victims of human trafficking last year, apprehended more than 4,800 gang members and arrested 127,000 foreign nationals who allegedly committed crimes against U.S. citizens.
“Washington Democrats wanting to abolish ICE, our country’s immigration law enforcement agency, are essentially demanding open borders,” Cassidy said. “Assaults on ICE officers nearly tripled in 2017, so instead of attacking them, we should support them as they work to secure our borders, stop the flow of deadly drugs, break up violent gangs like MS-13, rescue human trafficking victims, and keep our communities safe.”
Kennedy said he was “deeply troubled” by “reckless” calls from some Democrats to abolish ICE, arguing that it shows a “blatant disregard” for the welfare of communities and immigration laws.
“With the ever-present threat of MS-13 and international terrorism, along with an opioid crisis being fought at our border, abolishing ICE is unthinkable,” Kennedy said. “ICE officers are in the trenches fighting those threats and protecting American families from the cross-border crime and illegal immigration that endanger our families. ICE deserves our gratitude and respect, not scorn and ridicule.”
The resolution was cosponsored by U.S. Sens. Tom Cotton (R-AR), David Perdue (R-GA), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), John Cornyn (R-TX), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Steve Daines (R-MT), Dean Heller (R-NV), and Ron Johnson (R-WI).
“ICE plays a critical role in ensuring our nation has a lawful immigration system,” Grassley said. “Calls to abolish ICE are misguided and dangerous. They ignore the valuable role ICE officers play in keeping Americans safe. Every day, ICE officers remove dangerous criminals who threaten our communities, including sex offenders, murderers, and gang members. This country was founded on the principles of the rule of law and equal justice. Their public service deserves our thanks.”
In voicing support for the resolution, Daines noted that abolishing ICE could fuel the nation’s opioid epidemic by allowing more drugs to be trafficked across the border.
“All across our state, communities are torn apart by the meth and opioids that are trafficked through the southern border,” Daines said. “I am committed to fighting to protect ICE and all the Americans its agents protect.”