After House Democrats introduced a bill to abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), House Republicans have passed a bill of their own.
In a 244 to 35 vote, the House this week passed a non-binding resolution in support of the “officers and personnel who carry out the important mission of the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement.”
The measure praises ICE for its efforts in rescuing human-trafficking victims, as well as combatting the narcotics trade. It also cited ICE’s work in enforcing immigration laws as a key national security interest.
Only 18 Democrats voted in favor of the bill, while 34 voted against it, and 133 submitted a vote of “present,” the Washington Examiner reported.
The bill asserted that calls to eliminate ICE “are an insult to these heroic law enforcement officers who make sacrifices every day to secure our borders, enforce our laws and protect our safety and security.”
The resolution came to a vote after Republican leaders aborted a plan to pressure Democrats into voting on their own proposed abolish-ICE bill.
Some Republican members disagreed with the plan of taking on the Democrats’ bill because of the risk associated with voters in swing states.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte said: “House Democrats once worked collaboratively with Republicans to improve the effectiveness of federal immigration enforcement. Now, it appears that they are outraged when ICE has the audacity to actually enforce the laws that we have enacted.”
Majority Whip Steve Scalise said the resolution exposes the differences between the two parties to be noted ahead of the midterm elections.
“We stand up for our ICE agents and the people that are keeping America safe,” Scalise said. “They want to get rid of them. It’s a radical idea they have, and this resolution’s really important.”
President Donald Trump tweeted on Tuesday in support of ICE, mirroring his support of the agency throughout his Presidential campaign.
“The Democrats want to abolish ICE, which will mean more crime in our country. I want to give ICE a big cheer! Vote Republican in November,” he said.
The Democrats want to abolish ICE, which will mean more crime in our country. I want to give ICE a big cheer! Vote Republican in November.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 18, 2018
Democrats are increasingly opposed to ICE as a result of immigrant family separations at the border as part of a strict immigration policy enacted by the Trump Administration.
The push to abolish ICE has been driven by New York politicians Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the upset winner of the Democrat primary for New York’s 14th Congressional District.
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer criticized Republicans’ resolution on ICE.
“This is exactly the kind of ‘gotcha vote’ which alienates Americans from their government… Democrats refuse to play the Republicans’ game,” he said.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler, a top Democrat in the House Judiciary Committee, called the bill “a meaningless stunt.” He explained that he voted present because “we have more important things to do.”
Only 25 percent of respondents in a recent Politico poll supported the elimination of ICE.