Democratic Senator Won't Say Whether He Wants to Abolish ICE: 'We Need An Agency at the Border'

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Posted: Jul 02, 2018 12:55 PM
Democratic Senator Won't Say Whether He Wants to Abolish ICE: 'We Need An Agency at the Border'

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) would not directly reply Monday when asked if he wants to abolish Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Kamala Harris (D-NY), and Liz Warren (D-MA) have all recently called for abolishing ICE. The subject emerged following Democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's stunning primary victory over Democratic Caucus Chair Joe Crowley (D-NY). Ocasio-Cortez is calling to abolish ICE as part of her campaign platform. 

"Do you think ICE should be abolished?" CNN’s John Berman asked Cardin.

"My priority is to abolish this administration's policy on immigration that separates parents from children and that denies people coming to this country to seek asylum for domestic abuse or gang violence," Cardin said. "We got to change the policy of this administration. That's the problem; it's the Trump policy that's the problem at our border."

Berman then asked if calling for ICE’s abolition would help to change the policy.

Cardin replied that there was a “great deal of frustration” because the people carrying out the President’s policies “are being tested.” He emphasized again that the policies are set by the President.

"Can I just get you on a yes or no, do you want ICE to exist?" Berman pressed.

"We have to have an agency at the border; I want that policy to reflect not what President Trump has done. I don't want them being ordered to separate families at the border," Cardin said. "I don't want them to be said that you can't have a process to seek asylum when you're in fear of your life."

"Alright, it doesn't seem like you're directly answering the question about whether or not you'd like to see that be ICE or someone else,” Berman noted. “To be clear, you're not answering that part of the question, correct? It could be ICE, it could be another agency in the future?"

“There’s going to be an agency,” Cardin replied, “we’re always going to have an agency at the border.”

While Cardin did not directly answer the question, his views on ICE are somewhat similar to Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL).

"We are always going to need immigration enforcement," Klobuchar emphasized on ABC's "This Week."

"I think we know that," she said. "We are a major country with major borders, so to me, the issue is what are those policies."

Sen. Duckworth said that ICE simply reflects the policies of the White House so abolishing it would not solve the problem.

"I think if you abolish ICE as it is as an executive agency, it reflects the policies of the White House, of the President," she said. "You abolish ICE now, you still have the same President with the same failed policies, whatever you replace it with is just still (going to) reflect what this President wants to do."