Asked whether he would abolish U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement at the She the People 2020 forum in Houston Wednesday, Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke said that ICE would exist under his administration but would end some hardline policies it practiced under the Obama and Trump administrations.
“Yes it will,” O’Rourke said. “But it will not employ those practices that we’ve seen not just under this administration but under the previous administration. . . . The practices under this president, the practices under the last president, where families were broken up . . . we don’t need those internal roundups and deportations and enforcement.”
“We were taking children from their mothers and fathers after having completed a more than 2,000-mile journey fleeing the deadliest places on the planet today, trying to follow our own asylum laws, and I would argue being illegally blocked and rejected and arrested and separated and caged by this president and this administration,” he added.
O’Rourke cautioned, however, that the “onus is on us” to pass “comprehensive immigration reform.”
The former Texas representative, who lost his Senate campaign last year to incumbent Republican Ted Cruz, said another priority of his would be granting citizenship to “Dreamers,” undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children, in order to “make sure that they are permanently freed from any fear of deportation” and allow their parents to “come out of the shadows as well.”