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Wicker condemns ICE criticism

Photo courtesy of Senator Roger Wicker.

Senators Roger Wicker and Cindy Hyde-Smith recently cosponsored a resolution expressing support for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers and personnel, and denouncing calls to abolish the agency.

While back in Mississippi on Friday, Senator Wicker brushed off the recent criticism that the agency has received amid recent conversations surrounding illegal immigration in America. 

“I’m just amazed at the overreaction of some of my colleagues in House and Senate,” he said. “We have to have a border policy. Now, we can debate about who gets to come in, and when they have to wait for an adjudication, what type of facilities they have to wait in and things of that nature, but to say that we don’t need an agency to enforce the immigration policy is just way outside the political mainstream.”

In response to the terrorist attacks on 9/11, ICE was created by Congress as part of the Department of Homeland Security in 2003. During fiscal year (FY) 2017, ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) arrested more than 127,000 illegal aliens with criminal convictions or charges.

The resolution and Wicker’s comments come after three House Democrats introduced a bill which aimed to break up ICE and establish a new agency. The new agency would’ve been made up of a 17-member commission in an effort to create what they called a more “humane” immigration agency. 

“ICE has become synonymous with immigration raids, home invasions, family separation, abusive detention practices, and chronic noncompliance with the law,” the authors stated. “The agency is now failing to perform its core mission and that the best path forward would be to end it and start fresh.”

Wicker denounced the bill and said that those working within the agency deserve to be commended for their service. 

“We have a lot of people working for ICE from all demographic groups. They are great public servants and they don’t deserve to be demonized because they are doing a great job of enforcing what I think most Americans want. We want a humane way to enforce our borders, and I think that’s an attribute of being a sovereign country,” Wicker said.

The bill, introduced by Representatives Mark Pocan (WI), Pramila Jayapal (WA) and Adriano Espaillat (NY), will not be voted on after Speaker Paul Ryan nixed a potential vote, according to Politico. 

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