Last week, New York gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon joined the “Abolish ICE” movement, and now two more voices from the Empire state have added their support. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio have gone on the record calling for the dismantling of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
“I don’t think ICE today is working as intended…. I believe that it has become a deportation force, and I think you should separate the criminal justice from the immigration issues,” Gillibrand, a potential 2020 presidential contender and the first sitting senator to speak on the issue, said on Cuomo PrimeTime,” reports CNN. “I think you should reimagine ICE under a new agency with a very different mission and take those two missions out,” she added.
As for the mayor, he was on WNY radio on Friday, saying, “We should abolish ICE.” Their two voices speaking out about this issue takes it away from being considered a far-left issue, as many were trying to brand it. According to Fox News, they join the growing list of Democratic candidates, House members, liberal commentators and writers who are speaking out against President Donald Trump’s administration’s immigration policies.
New Yorker Debora Berenice Vasquez-Barrios, and the youngest of her two children are taking physical sanctuary in Saint Paul & Saint Andrew United Methodist Church on the Upper West Side, for fear that they will be separated and deported by ICE. . As a mother of three, it has been devastating to watch the atrocities that have been happening both at the border and in communities across our state. We must ensure that the cries of children separated from their parents end once and for all. . While focusing on what’s happening at the border, we must also fight to keep families together here at home. We have to stand with Debora and her children, and all the other New York families living in daily fear of being torn apart. We must make New York a real sanctuary state. . One way to do this is to make driver’s licenses available to all qualified New Yorkers, including undocumented immigrants. Debora’s here because she was racially profiled and pulled over in a traffic stop years ago and put into ICE’s deportation system. We must #KeepFamiliesTogether and #AbolishICE!
Further proof that it’s picking up steam was the upset victory of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez over incumbent Rep. Joseph Crowley for the Democratic nomination to the House. Crowly was a member of party leadership, and his being ousted underscored how vulnerable seats are if those holding them are seen as complacent or not fully behind the more liberal side of the party. Prior to election day, Ocasio-Cortez protested outside an ICE center in Texas, making very clear her support for abolishing ICE.
ICE has drawn focus due to the White House policy of zero tolerance at the border, which has led to separating parents from their children. Coverage of children crying out for their moms and dads has caused a social media storm, mobilizing Americans into action and spawning protests outside of these detention centers where the children have been taken while their parents wait to have their cases heard by a court. The optics have been terrible for the White House, leading to President Trump signing an executive order last week. But that has done little to stop the calls for ICE to be abolished.
“We believe that we should protect families who need our help and that is not what ICE is doing today, and that’s why I believe you should get rid of it, start over, reimagine it and build something that actually works,” Gillibrand said.