The acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement has labeled calls from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other Democrats to abolish the agency as “absolutely irresponsible.”
Mark Morgan joined ICE in May after heading up the US Border Patrol. He recently appeared on Fox News Wednesday night and criticized Congress for “refusing” to do what is needed to address the crisis at the Mexico border.
Morgan focused on legislators who would like to see ICE abolished, specifically mentioning freshman representative Ocasio-Cortez.
“If you talk about abolishing ICE, it is absolutely irresponsible,” Morgan told host Laura Ingraham. “Last year alone 34,000 criminal arrests, 5,000 gang members arrested. Thousands of cases of child smuggling exploitation, human trafficking.
“I would like to talk to that young congresswoman and have her tell me what is going to happen if ICE is abolished,” he said of Ocasio-Cortez.
Morgan continued saying: “We’ve been sounding the alarm for a very long time that this is absolutely a humanitarian and national security crisis. Congress has failed to do their job.”
“It is unbelievable to me that we’re still asking, across the board, what can Congress do, when we’ve been telling Congress — the experts living this every single day from ICE to the Border Patrol, the CBP [Customs and Border Protection] – they need to pass meaningful legislation, they need to address the Flores agreement and they do that, fund some bed space and this crisis ends tomorrow.”
Morgan talked about the Flores agreement which refers to the 1990s Supreme Court case Reno v. Flores. It set the standards for the treatment of minors in the custody of US immigration authorities.
Vice President Mike Pence is starting significant negotiations with top Mexican officials Wednesday as the government released new data showing there were 140,000 arrests at the border last month.
“We’re in a full-blown emergency,” CBP’s acting commissioner John Sanders said.
Authorities detained 133,000 adults, while turning away 11,000 people at the southern border in May, according to CBP statistics.
Those monthly figures point to a 13-year high, and were the backdrop for Pence’s negotiations, which followed President Trump’s threat to impose tariffs.
Pence will be joined by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and will meet with Mexico’s foreign minister Marcelo Ebrard and other top officials as they reinforce President Trump’s demands.
The White House says Trump is “deadly serious” about the threat, which comes in the midst of an ongoing trade war with China.