New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio became the latest government official to call for the abolition of America's immigration enforcement agency on Friday amid President Donald Trump's hardline crackdown on undocumented immigrants.
"Every country needs reasonable law enforcement on their borders. ICE is not reasonable law enforcement," de Blasio said on Twitter.
"ICE is broken, it’s divisive and it should be abolished," he added, referring to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The agency has been a focal point of criticism amid Trump's hardline "zero tolerance" immigration policy, and has been met with a growing Democratic chorus calling for it to be eliminated.
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.
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.
Trump's decision to pursue a policy of charging all undocumented adults who illegally cross into the U.S. with criminal charges resulted in the separation of over 2,300 children from their parents, and while the president has since halted the family separations amid outcry, the question remains about how the vast majority of children will be reunited with their parents.
Nearly 540 children have been reunited, according to the U.S. government.
New York gubernatorial hopeful Cynthia Nixon, who has mutually endorsed Ocasio-Cortez, has thrown her support behind ICE's abolition amid continued mass opposition to Trump's "zero tolerance" policy, as has Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, also of New York.
Gillibrand told CNN on Thursday that ICE "has become a deportation force."
"I don’t think ICE today is working as intended," she said. "I think you should separate the criminal justice from the immigration issues, and I think you should reimagine ICE under a new agency with a very different mission and take those two missions out."
Within the agency, more than a dozen agents have signed a letter calling on Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to dissolve the agency and roll its responsibilities into another bureau.
"HSI’s investigations have been perceived as targeting undocumented aliens, instead of the transnational criminal organizations that facilitate cross border crimes impacting our communities and national security," the 19 agents, who are members of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), wrote in a letter first reported by the Texas Observer.
ICE operates under Nielsen's Department of Homeland Security.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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