100+ State & Local Elected Leaders Join Call to #AbolishICE
Growing Movement for Scrapping the Rogue Agency Wins Endorsement of Legislators, Mayors, and Council Members from Coast to Coast.
NATIONWIDE -- More than one-hundred state and local elected officials released a joint statement today calling for the abolishment of the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The signers include state legislators, mayors, city council members, county officials and school board members. They hail from 20 states and the District of Columbia, and include members of the Democratic Party and the Working Families Party, and nonpartisan elected officials.
“As one of our newest federal agencies, ICE has shown that when given a blanket directive to round up families it spends more time destroying communities than it does keeping communities safe,” the statement said in part. “The experiment that is ICE has failed, and must be ended as soon as possible.”
“State and local elected officials are the ones closest to the ground, and we see the toll ICE’s inhumane tactics take on immigrant families and on our communities,” said Helen Gym, City Councilmember At-Large in Philadelphia and Board Vice Chair of Local Progress Action. “We need an immigration system that lives up to our values and that keeps families together and free. That work starts with ending ICE.”
The statement comes as tens of thousands are taking to the streets to protest the separation and jailing of migrant families, and as the call to abolish ICE enters the forefront of the immigration debate. Earlier this month, Cynthia Nixon, the Working Families Party backed challenger looking to unseat New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, became one of the first candidates to call for the end of ICE. Since then, U.S. Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Bernie Sanders (IND-Vt.), and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) have called for scrapping the bureau.
“Instead of spending $6 billion on an agency that terrorizes immigrant communities and raids our schools, local businesses, and places of worship, we should be investing our taxpayer dollars in infrastructure, education, and creating good jobs,” said Hartford City Councilmember Wildaliz Bermúdez (WFP-Ct.) “The path to any humane immigration reform that lives up to our values and strengthens our communities starts with abolishing ICE.”
In 2017, the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General issued a damning report documenting widespread abuse at ICE facilities. Between 2010 and 2016 alone, they received 33,000 reports of alleged abuse in immigration detention. Despite an official policy of limiting its activities in ‘sensitive locations,’ ICE routinely raids hospitals, churches and schools to round up immigrant and refugee families.
“Under President Trump, ICE has become a federal police force that rounds up immigrants and separates them from their families without due process,” said Arizona Senate Democratic Minority Whip Martin Quezada (D-Phoenix). “No one who calls this country home should be afraid to walk the streets in their own neighborhoods or send their kids to school.
Last week, Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chair Mark Pocan (D-Wisc.) announced plans to introduce legislation to abolish ICE.
“From conducting raids at garden centers and meatpacking plants, to breaking up families at churches and schools, ICE is tearing apart families and ripping at the moral fabric of our nation. Unfortunately, President Trump has so misused ICE that the agency can no longer accomplish its goals effectively,” said Pocan. “This week, my colleagues and I are introducing legislation to end President Trump’s use of ICE as a personal deportation force and implement an immigration system that upholds the dignity of all individuals. By abolishing ICE and transferring its necessary functions to other agencies, we can ensure that the President can no longer terrorize countless immigrant families, while making our nation safer from actual threats.”
Recently, an eight-member Working Families Party delegation representing three states joined a protest led by immigrant justice group Mijente and blocked the entrance to a federal courthouse for more than three hours to stop mass hearings of detained immigrants and refugees. Abolishing ICE was among their chief demands. In Washington, DC, Congressmember Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and candidate for U.S. Senate in Delaware, Kerri Evelyn Harris, were arrested along with 600 other women in an event coordinated by the Women’s March and the Center for Popular Democracy Action, protesting the Trump Administration’s “zero tolerance” detention policies and calling for the abolishment of ICE.