The newest and loudest House Democrats, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Rep. Omar Ilhan (D-MN), want to “abolish ICE.” And they’re demanding that “not another dollar” be spent on the DHS. But the more established Dem leadership isn’t following too closely.
In fact, Democratic House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said that ICE is an “essential” governmental agency and attempted to distance himself from the radical faction in his own party.
Border security funding negotiations
Fox News host Neil Cavuto interviewed Hoyer on Monday about the ongoing negotiations on border security funding. Democrats and Republicans have been working together in a bicameral, bipartisan conference committee ahead of a Feb. 15 deadline to reach a deal.
Recent reports indicated that some Democrats had offered to support the inclusion of border wall construction funds in exchange for a reduction in funding for ICE, specifically a reduction of the number of beds the agency was permitted to maintain for the detention of apprehended criminal illegal immigrants.
Hoyer suggested the reduction in beds for ICE detainment was intended to prevent random “roundups” of illegal aliens, criminal or otherwise, by immigration officials.
But Cavuto pushed back on that notion and cornered Hoyer on whether he supported the far-left’s push to do away with ICE entirely.
ICE is an “absolutely essential agency”
“A lot of some of the moderates in both parties say we ought not be having this added debate in the middle of what was originally funding for a wall and whether it was necessary, how much it would be, how long it would be, etc.,” said Cavuto. “That maybe this is your party emboldened to some of the far left elements who have been saying out of extreme just defund homeland security altogether. You didn’t go that far. But, how do you answer that?”
“They didn’t go that far. Some suggested eliminating ICE as an organization,” Hoyer replied. “I was not for that. The Speaker was not for that, clearly. We’re going to have immigrants, we’re going to have customs. We need enforcement.”
“So you think ICE has some value?” asked Cavuto. Hoyer immediately replied, “Of course it does. It’s like the IRS. It’s an absolutely essential agency as (the) IRS is an essential agency.”
Cavuto pressed, “So when Congresswoman (Ocasio)-Cortez and others say that it isn’t doing that and should be shut down, you say that goes too far?”
“I think that goes too far,” Hoyer conceded, and later added that he has always understood that a wall or barrier would be a necessary part of the overall effort to better secure the border.
Watch the whole conversation below: