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- Republicans are gearing up to force a vote on plans from the left wing of the Democratic Party to abolish the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
- In a vote, Republicans would be forcing vulnerable Democrats to show their hand on a polarizing position that is important to the Democratic base.
WASHINGTON – Republicans are planning to hold a vote on a bill that would abolish the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency in an apparent political attempt to force Democrats to take a side on a hot-button issue that is increasingly popular among the liberal base.
The Hill reported on Thursday that House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy would bring the bill, introduced by Democratic Rep. Mark Pocan of Wisconsin, to the floor for a vote.
Pocan and a group of other Democrats in the far-left Progressive Caucus put forth the Establishing a Humane Immigration Enforcement System Act on Thursday.
The bill and its supporters say ICE has strayed from its original mission since its creation in 2003. The bill would establish a commission tasked with creating “a humane immigration enforcement system that upholds the dignity of all individuals,” according to a summary of the legislation.
“President Trump’s blanket directive to round up and target all undocumented immigrants underscores the unchecked power which ICE has used to terrorize our communities,” Pocan said in the statement. “From conducting raids at garden centers and meatpacking plants, to targeting families outside churches and schools, the president is using ICE as a mass-deportation force to rip apart the moral fabric of our nation.
“Sadly, President Trump has so misused ICE that the agency can no longer accomplish its goals effectively. As a result, the best path forward is this legislation, which would end ICE and transfer its critical functions to other executive agencies.”
The move to push for a vote on the bill is in direct contrast with what House Speaker Paul Ryan has repeatedly hammered home – that he would not allow a vote on an immigration bill that President Donald Trump would not sign.
Even if the bill does not fail on the House floor, as it almost certainly would, Trump would need to sign it, an even less likely outcome. The likelier reason Republicans would allow a vote on abolishing ICE would be to create a dilemma for some Democrats would risk angering their constituencies, their party’s leadership, or the broader Democratic base with their vote.
Ryan called the plan “the craziest position I’ve ever seen” on Thursday while also reiterating his stance that any immigration bill would need the confidence and support of Trump.