State and local elected officials from 20 states on Tuesday joined the call to abolish the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, adding momentum to a push that, until recently, was dismissed as a fringe left rallying cry, The Intercept reports. In a joint statement, state legislators, mayors, city council members, and county officials said, “The experiment that is ICE has failed, and must be ended as soon as possible.” State senators and representatives from Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois, New Mexico, Rhode Island, and Illinois signed the letter. They were joined by officials from dozens of cities in 14 other states and the District of Columbia.
The group cited “rampant and brutal enforcement tactics of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the lawless federal agency that, since its creation in 2002, has terrorized immigrants and separated families in the communities we live in and represent.” Immigrant communities and rights groups have drawn attention to abuses by the agency for years, but the call to abolish ICE has found renewed urgency in the year and a half since President Trump took office, and particularly in the two months since the Trump administration began to implement its “zero tolerance” border policy. One signer of the statement, Hartford City Council member Wildaliz Bermúdez, said that “instead of spending $6 billion on an agency that terrorizes immigrant communities and raids our schools, local businesses, and places of worship, we should be investing our taxpayer dollars in infrastructure, education, and creating good jobs.” A number of senators thought to be 2020 presidential hopefuls — Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) — have joined the push to abolish ICE, but there appears to be no consensus on what the alternative should be. The odds that Congress will undertake any substantial overhaul of the agency in the near future are dismal..