Immigration top issue for US voters, economy a close second: Reuters/Ipsos poll

Ronald Vitiello                        John Gibbins  The San Diego Union Tribune via AP

Ronald Vitiello John Gibbins The San Diego Union Tribune via AP

"Penn polled the newest progressive immigration proposal, the "Abolish ICE" campaign to disband U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement". Democrats don't have a clear answer for that, which is why they are heading into risky political territory.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the insurgent Democratic Socialist who won a stunning primary upset in NY last week, ran on this issue.

Some prominent Democrats, including possible 2020 contender Senator Elizabeth Warren, have joined the chorus over the agency's handling of family separations and arrests. It's short enough to fit on a bumper sticker - as does "Build the Wall", or "Abolish the IRS".

"These are tough people", Trump said at an event in West Virginia on Tuesday. The party's position on immigration is unrecognizable to some Democrats. Victims tend to be members of the immigrant community, rival gang members or individuals who spurned the gang. We're afraid in what is purported to be the world's greatest deliberative body to have the debates and the discussions necessary to compromise that will entail between Democrats and Republicans to be able to move forward. CBP enforces immigration laws on the U.S. borders and ICE enforces immigration laws throughout the country. If you feel the agencies failures and unconscionable acts are too awful to overcome, demand that the Trump administration abolish ICE and rethink the immigration system with this petition.

Then Penn asked: "Do you think that parents with children who make it across our border illegally should be allowed to stay in the country or sent home?" "Trump and his administration have made the agency so toxic that it's time to abolish ICE, and start over". Deputy Commissioner of Special Operations Dennis Wilson said, "We are protecting their right to protest as well as trying to keep the streets open and trying access to this building".

Calls to reform the agency have come from ICE employees.

Until this past weekend, immigration was largely a political problem for Republicans. In fact, under every quantitative measure- arrests, deportations, and the share of all deportees with no criminal records-immigration enforcement was far more aggressive under Obama's first term than Trump's.

Former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham said Trump's family separation policy "is utterly immoral". A majority of voters have consistently supported giving DREAMers a path to citizenship. He became a border patrol agent in 1985, and has worked in law enforcement for more than 30 years.

Blacks and whites oppose abolishing ICE more than other minority voters do. Even Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders dodged the question, saying only that he wanted to "create policies that deal with immigration in a rational way".

Elected Democrats and left-wing activists have called for ICE to be reformed or abolished, including Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi.

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