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Kirsten Gillibrand Becomes FIRST SENATOR to Call for Abolishment of ICE

Kirsten Gillibrand Becomes FIRST SENATOR to Call for Abolishment of ICE

Discussion over eliminating the agency has ramped up this week and, in some cases, is being linked to border issues and the separation of immigrant children from their families.

Nelini Stamp, the national organizing director for the Working Families Party, one of many progressive groups that ratcheted up its activity after Trump's election, called it a "critical moment" in the early maneuverings for 2020.

Since the Portland Occupy ICE encampment popped up here, tent cities like it have arisen near ICE buildings in larger cities, such as NY and Los Angeles.

In an interview with CNN's Chris Cuomo, the New York Democrat said she believes it is time to "reimagine" the controversial agency with a "very different mission".

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand called for the end of Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Thursday evening.

The rapid escalation was years in the making.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement chief Tom Homan is serving his last day Friday as the controversial face of the Trump administration's crackdown on illegal immigration retires. More than a dozen special agents from the second branch recently sent a letter to the homeland security secretary arguing that splitting from the rest of ICE would help morale and improve their ability to work in cities where Trump's policies are unpopular. "We need comprehensive immigration reform and we need new agencies to replace ICE", the mayor told attendees. Pramila Jayapal of Washington state and Adriano Espaillat of NY on legislation to eliminate the agency.

The office was established only 15 years ago, a move meant to help "protect national security and strengthen public safety", in response to the September 11, 2001 attacks, as the agency's website says.

"The culmination of all those things, going to the border and then when the president started talking about getting rid of due process, was it", he said.

But there is dissent now in the Democratic ranks. A number of elected officials have called for the agency to be abolished.

"Just trying to stop ICE, really, and abolish that whole system, peacefully though", Kelly Bower, another protestor, said.

ICE operates under Nielsen's Department of Homeland Security.

And on Tuesday the high profile election of insurgent socialist candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez added fuel to the movement, thanks to her outspoken support for the policy. "I'm here for the long haul", she said.

"We came here to let the president know that this is not acceptable", said San Francisco resident Barry Hooper, who attended with his wife and two daughters.