Senate Dems Block Senate GOP Resolution to Support ICE

ICE Agents
S. Huffaker/AFP/Getty

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) blocked a resolution on Wednesday to support the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency.

Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) sponsored the S.Res. 572, a resolution to support the officers and personnel of ICE. Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT), a co-sponsor of the resolution, attempted to have the Senate unanimously consider the resolution for a vote on Wednesday. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) blocked the consideration of Sen. Kennedy’s resolution, contending that ICE has unfairly separated illegal immigrant children from their parents.

Merkley said:

This moment hardly seems the time for the Senate to engage in debating rhetorical phrases of praise for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. When that agency, better known as ICE  is deeply mired in the scandal of separating children from their parents. it is ICE that partnered with border control and health and human services in this diabolical situation. it’s Ice that holds the parents in detention camps.

The Oregon Democrat contended that the Senate should instead consider Sen. Kamala Harris’ (D-CA) bill, the REUNITE Act, which would prevent federal agencies from separating illegal alien children from their families and end mitigate President Donald Trump’s border enforcement policies.

The resolution states that the Senate:

(1) expresses continued support for all officers and employees of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (referred to in this resolution as “ICE”) who carry out the important mission of ICE;

(2) denounces calls for the complete abolishment of ICE; and

(3) supports the efforts of officers and employees of the United States Armed Forces and Federal and State law enforcement agencies who bring law and order to the borders of the United States.

The House passed a resolution on Wednesday to support ICE and rebuke calls to abolish the customs agency.

Senators across the Republican spectrum supported the resolution; Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY), Ted Cruz (R-TX), David Perdue (R-GA), and even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) supported the resolution. Altogether 36 Republican senators supported the resolution.

Last week, Sen. Kennedy explained why he sponsored his resolution in support of ICE:

ICE officers are in the trenches fighting those threats and protecting American families from the cross-border crime and illegal immigration that endanger our families.  ICE deserves our gratitude and respect, not scorn and ridicule.

Sen. Perdue said in a statement last week why he supports the resolution:

Every United States Senator should support this effort to recognize the brave women and men who wear the ICE uniform. ICE is a critical component of our country’s national security strategy created after the terrorist attacks on 9/11. Since then, our ICE law enforcement officers have dedicated their lives to arresting human traffickers, protecting communities from gangs, combating terrorism, and keeping drugs off the street. We don’t say it enough – thank you to all of our ICE officers.

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) said:

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency is an essential federal law enforcement agency. Without internal federal immigration law enforcement, illegal immigrants would be free to stay in our country forever once they snuck in the border or illegally overstayed their legally issued visa. We would no longer be a sovereign if we stopped governing who could and could not be in our country.

Meanwhile, President Trump tweeted that Democrats serve as a significant hurdle for ICE.

Trump wrote, “The two biggest opponents of ICE in America today are the Democratic Party and MS-13!”

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