"Because they're going to get beaten so badly", Trump said, according to Axios. "And I think you should reimagine ICE under a new agency with a very different mission and take those two missions out".
Progressive immigration rights activists - during both Republican and Democratic administrations - have come to view ICE as a rogue agency that terrorized immigrant communities.
New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand becomes the first sitting US senator to publicly call for the elimination of Immigration and Customs Enforcement; reaction and analysis on 'The Five'.
"The Democrats are making a strong push to abolish ICE, one of the smartest, toughest and most spirited law enforcement groups of men and women that I have ever seen". Two potential Democratic presidential candidates - New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand - have jumped on board the anti-ICE bandwagon, joining a growing list of far-left Democrats.
The heightened attention to ICE has also come from people like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the upset victor of a New York City primary earlier this week, who has led the calls to abolish the agency and reorganize immigration enforcement in the US.
Donald Trump responds to the "Abolish ICE" movement. 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.
Her comments follow similar sentiments expressed by Sen.
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"To the great and fearless men and women of ICE, do not worry or lose your spirit".
"But what I think it allows us to do is talk about the facts", he said.
De Blasio, who endorsed Joe Crowley in the primary, also noted on Friday that Ocasio-Cortez "is someone who absolutely comes from my wing of the Democratic Party". "Zero chance, It will never happen!" he added.
Tyler Houlton, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, welcomed interest in the immigration system and said only Congress has the power to change the law. The Democratic Socialists of America, which reported its largest spike in new, dues-paying members since Trump's election on the day after Ocasio-Cortez's win, are planning a national campaign to ramp up the pressure.
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. But the family separation policy has been a watershed for attracting a broader spectrum of demonstrators, she said. Biden, however, has been critical of Trump's immigration policy as he considers a 2020 run.
The activists pushing for ICE abolition, meanwhile, said they aren't anxious about potential blowback or any difficulties for Democrats facing more conservative voters, including those potentially swayed by Trump's repeated charges that Democrats favor "open borders". "Give them points for honesty".