President Donald Trump has defended “tough” agents of the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement amid mounting calls for the agency to be abolished.
"We respect ICE. These are tough people," Trump said at an event in West Virginia on Tuesday.
"And then I hear Democrats saying, 'We want to abandon ICE.' We're not abandoning ICE and we're not abandoning our law enforcement," he insisted.
The president claimed that ICE agents have "liberated" towns across the country by arresting criminal illegal immigrants and members of the violent MS-13 gang during routine raids.
"We send ICE in and for ICE, it's just another day. These guys, they walk into those areas, and they take them out so fast," he said. "They're not afraid of anything."
Trump has suggested that Democrats in Congress who speak out against the immigration agency will pay a political price in November’s midterm elections.
“How can the Democrats, who are weak on the Border and weak on Crime, do well in November,” the president wrote on Twitter. “The people of our Country want and demand Safety and Security, while the Democrats are more interested in ripping apart and demeaning (and not properly funding) our great Law Enforcement!”
Calls have grown in recent weeks for the abolition of ICE over Trump’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy which has resulted in thousands of children being separated from their parents across the southern border.
Some prominent Democrats, including possible 2020 contender Senator Elizabeth Warren, have joined the chorus over the agency's handling of family separations and arrests.
"The president's deeply immoral actions have made it obvious that we need to rebuild our immigration system from top to bottom, starting by replacing ICE with something that reflects our values," Warren said in a Facebook post over the weekend.
More than half of American voters say they disapprove of the way President Trump has handled immigration, according to a new survey by Quinnipiac University.
Just 39 percent of those polled said they approve of the president’s policy, while 58 percent said they disapprove.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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