Vice President Mike Pence has announced a counter-movement to the rallying cry to #AbolishICE. Pence praised the division of the Department of Homeland Security in a tweet Friday, introducing the hashtag #IStandWithICE.
Calls to dismantle Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have surged in the weeks since President Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy tore more than 2,300 immigrant children from their parents at the U.S. border.
Pence called ICE employees “American heroes.”
Calls to abolish ICE are not just outrageous – they are irresponsible. Abolishing ICE would mean more illegal immigration… Abolishing ICE would mean more violent crime… Abolishing ICE would mean more vicious gangs like MS-13. #IStandWithICE— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) July 6, 2018
Since Trump took office, ICE has expanded in breadth and power, all the time raiding and detaining immigrants in new and egregious ways. In the 2017 fiscal year, the agency made approximately 143,470 arrests.
But public disdain for ICE came to a head in June when photos and stories emerged of immigrant children detained under the policy implemented by the Trump administration. The backlash from leaders on both sides of the political spectrum was so fierce that Trump signed an executive order ending family separation rules. The government is now tasked with reuniting immigrant families.
Last month, individuals angry with the agency’s actions posted the personal information of ICE employees online, leading major sites like Medium and Twitter to remove doxing activity.
“These attacks against ICE officers and their families must stop and must stop now,” Pence said Friday while visiting the ICE headquarters, USA Today reports.
While some Democratic lawmakers, including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), have been hesitant to publicly denounce ICE, others like Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York have called to end it. Several progressive congressional and gubernatorial candidates, among them Cynthia Nixon, have folded #AbolishICE into their platforms.