“ICE has been sent on a very negative, divisive mission and it cannot function in the way it is,” said Mayor de Blasio.
By Michael V. Cusenza
Mayor Bill de Blasio on Friday joined a growing chorus of progressive politicians that would like to shutter the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who pulled off an historic upset last week by besting U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Queens and Bronx) in the 14th Congressional District Democratic primary, has called for ICE to be abolished, often citing its “extra-judicial nature.”
“We need to remember that ICE was established in 2003, right at the same time as the PATRIOT Act and the Iraq war; and we look back at that time and legislation as a mistake now, and I think that ICE is a part of it,” Ocasio-Cortez said in a recent interview with CNN. “We can replace it with a humane agency that is directed toward safe passage instead of criminalization.”
“Every country needs some kind of sensible, transparent, immigration regulation. There’s no question about that. You need some kind of agency to deal with immigration. But ICE is not that, ICE has proven that it can’t be that,” de Blasio said on Friday on his weekly spot during “The Brian Lehrer Show” on WNYC-FM.“ICE’s time has come and gone. It is broken. ICE has been sent on a very negative, divisive mission and it cannot function in the way it is. So I think that Ms. Ocasio-Cortez is right. We should abolish ICE. We should create something better, something different. But in the way it is developed it has become a punitive, negative tool for division and it is no longer acceptable.”
U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan) have echoed the call to close the agency.