Opposition to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) no longer comes from just the radical left, but from the “center of the Democratic Party itself,” Vice President Mike Pence declared at ICE Headquarters on Friday.
“The sad fact is, though, it isn’t just the expression of the radical left that’s been speaking out against ICE lately,” Pence told a room filled with ICE employees. “The truth is that opposition of ICE has moved to the center of the Democratic Party itself.”
The Vice President brought to mind attacks on and demonization of ICE through nationwide protests, online campaigns, and even at some ICE employees homes. “ICE officers and leadership have had their personal information exposed on social media, and threats to their families have followed this,” said Pence.
Pence acknowledged the right of Americans to “peaceful” protest, but declared that threats against ICE officers and their families “must stop now.”
He pointed to mainstream Democrat moves toward the far left:
“Just when you thought the Democrats couldn’t move farther to the left, leading members of the Democratic Party, including candidates for higher office, are actually openly advocating for the abolition of ICE, an agency that protects the American people and our communities every single day.”
Vice President Pence specifically called out Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio for their calls to abolish ICE. “A leading candidate for governor of New York actually even appallingly called this agency a ‘terrorist organization,’” he continued. That candidate was former Sex and the City actress Cynthia Nixon. He called for a stop to political leaders’ attacks on ICE, a call that was met with the crowd’s applause.
He called the language being used to attack the men and women of ICE, “unacceptable.”
“The truth is that calls to abolish ICE are not just outrageous. They’re irresponsible,” said Pence, “Abolishing ICE would mean more violent crime.” He then pointed out the volumes of arrests that ICE has made of violent criminals, 127,000 in 2017. Those included “50,000 assault offenses and more than 11,000 weapons offenses, 2,000 kidnapping offenses, and 1,800 homicide offenses.”
He said abolishing ICE would mean “more vicious gangs like MS-13…more drugs in our schools and on our streets…more human trafficking…[and] would give terrorists a new chance to exploit immigration loopholes.” Pence backed up his statements with statistics. He pointed to 518 victims of human trafficking and nearly 1,000 victims of child exploitation in 2017 alone.
“Every day, ICE makes America safer and more secure,” he proclaimed.
“Under President Donald Trump, we will never abolish ICE,” Pence assured to applause from the crowd. “And as the President said, we will never fail to applaud, and expand, and empower this agency with the resources that you deserve.” He pointed to increased funding for the agency and President Trump’s call on Congress for even more funding in 2019 that would afford “hiring of 10,000 new ICE officers and investigators.”
The president and vice president will continue to call on Congress to “come together around immigration reforms that secure our border, build a wall, close the loopholes that too often serve as a magnet for vulnerable families or worse to come in across our border.”
“President Donald Trump and I will always fight for you,” said Pence.
Pence told the crowd that as he has traveled across the country he has heard “admiration and appreciation” from Americans for “the men and women of this agency, for the sacrifices that you and your families make every day so that their families can be safe and secure.”
He added that not only will he and President Trump “fight” for the men and women of ICE, but also that they are in their prayers. The vice president again thanked the men and women of ICE for their selflessness and courage in the face of risks to uphold the law and defend America.
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