Former Vice President and 2020 Democratic candidate Joe Biden recently spoke in opposition to calls from his party to abolish the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE), saying the department should instead be reformed under new leadership.
“We shouldn’t abolish ICE. We should reform the system. ICE is not the problem,” Biden told reporters Friday afternoon in Concord, New Hampshire. “The policies behind ICE are the problem, and that’s easy enough to fix if the president knows what he or she is doing.”
According to the Washington Examiner, Biden made the statement in response to Sen. Bernie Sanders’ recently released immigration plan.
Sanders’ plan—allegedly drafted with the help of a number of illegal immigrants protected under the Obama’s DACA program—would, in addition to the abolition of ICE, grant illegal immigrants full access to welfare programs, and place a moratorium on all deportations, reported the Daily Wire.
“My father came to America as a refugee without a nickel in his pocket, to escape widespread anti-Semitism, and find a better life,” Sanders said during the release of his proposal.
“As the proud son of an immigrant, I know that my father’s story is the story of so many Americans today. When I am in the White House, we will stop the hatred towards our immigrant brothers and sisters, end family separation, and locking children up in cages.”
A number of Democratic officials have also endorsed the “Abolish ICE” movement, including Elizabeth Warren, who told supporters at a rally in boston that, “we need to rebuild our immigration system from top to bottom by starting with replacing ICE with something that reflects our morality.”
According to MSN.com, Democrats have been calling for the abolition of ICE since February 2017, citing what they believe to be human rights abuses being committed by the agency.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez reportedly spent a significant portion of her 2018 congressional campaign promoting defunding of the agency.
Biden has said that he opposes both the abolition of ICE, as well as the decriminalization of illegal border crossings.
“The fact of the matter is, you should be able to–if you cross the border illegally, you should be able to be sent back,” said Biden. “It’s a crime.”
In general, however, Biden’s immigration stance has been vague, having yet to release a detailed plan.
House Democrats introduced a bill to abolish ICE in early July, but later said they would vote against the proposal after House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) announced plans to bring the bill to a vote.