(CNSNews.com) - In a speech at the headquarters of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Vice President Mike Pence promised that ICE will never be abolished under President Donald Trump.
"Everyday ICE makes America safer and more secure, and every citizen of this nation is better off and safer because of what you do. And so today, today I want to make it clear to all of you and all of those looking on: under President Donald Trump, we will never abolish ICE,” he said.
Pence detailed the progress that ICE has made so far.
“In 2017, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement made 4,818 gang arrests including they took from the streets 796 members of the MS-13 gangs, and our communities are safer as a result. There were nearly 33,000 arrests by ICE personnel, criminal arrests, individuals who came into this country illegally and then pursued crime against our people,” the vice president said.
“Nearly a million pounds of narcotics were seized by ICE agents in 2017 alone, and most touchingly to me as a father, ICE agents rescued 518 human trafficking victims and 904 children subject to child exploitation were rescued by ICE agents all across America,” Pence said.
Assaults on Customs and Border Patrol agents and ICE officers have skyrocketed, he said.
“In recent years, tragically attacks on you and your fellow law enforcement officers have risen dramatically. In 2017, attacks on your fellow DHS colleagues at Customs and Border Protection increased by nearly 75 percent, and at ICE, assaults on your officers nearly tripled in 2017,” Pence said.
The vice president addressed the recent demonization of ICE as well as personal attacks on ICE officers.
“As we all have seen in the press lately, the heroes of ICE are being attacked and demonized for the work that you do in an unprecedented rate in recent weeks. ICE has been targeted with protests across this country - not only on the job, but in public square and social media, and for many of you, even at your homes. The hashtag abolish ICE has now taken its place on the Internet. Protesters chant ‘no ban, no wall, no borders at all’ at protests around the country,” he said.
“ICE officers and leadership have had their personal information exposed on social media, and threats to their family have followed this. Now let me be very clear on this point: the American people have every right to engage in peaceful protest, but these threats against ICE officers and their families must stop, and they must stop now,” Pence said.
The vice president also condemned Democrats for calling for ICE’s abolishment.
“The sad fact is though, it isn’t just the expression of the radical left that’s been speaking out against ICE lately. The truth is that opposition of ICE has moved to the center of the Democratic Party itself,” Pence said.
“Just when you thought the Democrats couldn’t move farther to the left, leading members of the Democratic Party, including candidates for higher office are actually openly advocating the abolition of ICE - an agency that protects the American people and our communities every single day,” he said.
“Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, and the mayor of New York City Bill deBlasio have all already called for ICE’s abolition. A leading candidate for governor of New York actually even appallingly called this agency a terrorist organization,” the vice president added.
“Now let me be clear on this point: the American people have a right to their opinions, but these spurious attacks on ICE by our political leaders must stop. The type of language that’s being used to describe the men and women of this agency and the work that you do everyday is unacceptable, but you know, it’s not just me saying it,” Pence said.
He pointed to a Washington Post op-ed that defended ICE and pointed out how integral its mission is.
“Despite these calls from top Democrats even today, the liberal editorial page of the Washington Post had a lead editorial entitled, ‘ICE Is the Wrong Target for Outrage,’” Pence recalled. “In their editorial, and I quote the Washington Post acknowledged that the 20,000 employees of ICE managed more than deportations, they wrote. ‘Its investigative division handles cyber crime, human trafficking, narcotics, counter proliferation involving nuclear materials, other military wares, child exploitation.’ They went on to say, and I quote in the Washington Post, ‘those are all vital and legitimate functions of government as is deportation. They aren’t going to be abolished, nor should they be.’”
“No, the truth is that calls to abolish ICE are not just outrageous, they’re irresponsible. Abolishing ICE would mean more illegal immigration - people being able to come into our country,” he said.
The vice president said that in 2017, ICE removed 226,000 illegal immigrants from the U.S. He said abolishing ICE would lead to more violent crime, MS-13 gang members, drugs, human trafficking, and terrorists.
“Abolishing ICE would mean more violent crime. Last year, ICE arrested more than 127,000 immigrants with criminal convictions or facing charges for breaking our nation’s laws, including criminals who were responsible for 50,000 assault offenses and more than 11,000 weapons offenses, 2,000 kidnapping offenses, and 1800 homicide offenses,” Pence noted.
“Abolishing ICE would mean more vicious gangs like MS-13, and I’ve already discussed with you the extraordinary progress in the last year that we’ve made removing dangerous MS-13 gang members from our streets. The truth is that the arrests that were made by ICE represented an 83 percent increase from the last full year of a previous administration,” he said.
“Abolishing ICE also would mean more drugs in our schools and on our streets. Last year, ICE has seized nearly 500 tons of narcotics, nearly a million pounds of heroin, fentanyl, and other deadly drugs that criminals and cartels are smuggling into our country,” said the vice president.
“Abolishing ICE also would give terrorists a new chance to exploit immigration loopholes. That’s exactly what happened before September 11, 2001. Because of the tireless work of ICE and the entire law enforcement over the past 15 years, I truly do believe the men and women of this agency over the last 15 years have played a critical role in ensuring that no major terrorist attack occurred on our shores, and you deserve to be credited,” he added.