The call to abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement has gained support among progressives, but several Democratic Senate candidates have backed away from the issue for fear or alienating moderates, The Hill reports.
Some of the party’s most prominent members, including Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, have joined the call to eliminate the agency, but those is less secure positions have backed down from the idea.
Sen. Bill Nelson, a Florida Democrat facing a difficult reelection campaign, was asked about the issue on Monday, and said, “No, I don’t think we should” shut down ICE.
Rep. Jacky Rosen, a Nevada Democrat running to unseat GOP Sen. Dean Heller, hasn’t joined the call to dismantle ICE either. A spokeswoman for her campaign on Monday noted that the congresswoman told CNN in an interview that ICE “does a lot of other things people don’t realize,” and that Congress should “ask the president to stop his reckless and harmful policies right now.”
The Hill reached out to a spokesperson for Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, an Arizona Democrat running for the seat that will soon be vacated by Republican Sen. Jeff Flake, but did not receive a response, though the Hill notes that Sinema told an Arizona TV station in early July that abolishing ICE “isn’t realistic and doesn’t make sense.”
Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-Texas, has shown that unlike other Democratic candidates, he’s open to the possibility of eliminating the agency.
“If it’s reorganizing the Department of Homeland Security and changing the functions of ICE, having greater accountability, abolishing that agency altogether, that’s fine,” the congressman said in an interview with a radio station in Texas, according to the Hill. “But there will still have to be enforcement of our immigration laws in this country.”
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