Since May of this year the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency has separated nearly 2,500 migrant children from their parents at the U.S. border with Mexico. In response, activists opposed to Trump administration immigration policies have called for the abolishment of ICE. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, defeated Joseph Crowley, the chairperson of the both the House’s Democratic Caucus, and the Queen’s County Democratic Party, in the democratic primary for New York’s 14th congressional district, on a platform that included a demand to abolish ICE. The call has gone mainstream since. U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Kristen Gillibrand, and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, among others, have joined Ocasio-Cortez in demanding an end to ICE.
Some press outlets, however, see the #AbolishICE demands as little more than sound bite politics. According to NPR, #AbolishICE isn’t a call to actually abolish a federal police agency, but rather merely “symbolizes Democrats’ opposition to Trump’s immigration policies, particularly the separation of children and parents at the border. It’s a shorthand way to remind lawmakers and the public that Democrats don’t like how the president has demonized immigrants — whether they entered the U.S. legally or not. It also expresses the fear and outrage among immigrant communities who feel that ICE is terrorizing their neighborhoods.”