Calls grow to abolish USA immigration agency

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But, while it was unlikely to gain much traction on the right, Trump on Saturday backed ICE agents and said there was "zero chance" of ICE being abolished.

Celinda Lake, longtime Democratic pollster, told Axios: "I worry that abolishing ICE tips the issues from humane treatment to security".

The Trump administration's crackdown on immigration has prompted some Democrats and activists on the left to call for ICE to be abolished.

Activists and progressive leaders are pressing on, becoming more aggressive in their push to abolish the agency, an effort many in the movement view as both a way to open up the debate over decades of bipartisan US immigration policy and, crucially, win elections.

But a Trump tweet this morning showed how easy the issue will be to demagogue: "To the great and fearless men and women of ICE, do not worry or lose your spirit".

On CNN Thursday, Gillibrand said ICE has "become a deportation force" and said, "you should get rid of it, start over, reimagine it and build something that actually works".

Though many are seasoned anti-Trump demonstrators, others are new to immigration activism, including parents who say they feel compelled to show up after heart-wrenching accounts of children forcibly taken from their families as they crossed the border illegally. On Tuesday, U.S. House candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez delivered a stunning Democratic primary upset in NY after campaigning on abolishing the agency, which was formed in 2003 as part of a post-9/11 federal overhaul that created the Department of Homeland Security.

Be smart: "Abolish ICE" is the ideal antithesis to Trump's "Build a wall": It represents an entire immigration ideology in one simple phrase that resonates with their base.

She likened the situation to what followed the white supremacist rallies last summer in Charlottesville, Virginia.

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ICE was created within the newly formed Department of Homeland Security following the passage of the Homeland Security Act of 2002. In interviews with multiple outlets, she has said the government "maybe" or "probably" should "start from scratch" on an immigration enforcement agency.

"To the great and courageous men and women of ICE, do not worry or lose your spirit. Zero chance, It will never happen!" he added.

Trump seems to relish the prospect of Democrats making the abolishment of ICE a campaign issue.

An estimated 30,000 protesters marched from Manhattan to Brooklyn with pins and signs that read, "Abolish ICE", joining more than 700 other rallies across the United States organized by the Families Belong Together-Freedom for Immigrants March.

"I'm a mom, and I think everyone I know that I've talked to about this issue has had a very visceral reaction", Sharaf said.

Alarmed by the rhetoric, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, which has been critical of Trump's immigration agenda, developed talking points to emphasise the "inhumane and harsh" treatment of immigrants by ICE.

Many Republicans have been urging Democrats to be completely honest and to run on an "open borders" platform for years.

Ocasio-Cortez is one of many progressives who has called for ICE to be abolished.