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CAP TIMES TALK (copy)

Rep. Mark Pocan

After visiting the U.S.-Mexico border, where President Donald Trump's administration has enforced a controversial "zero tolerance" policy for migrant families attempting to enter the United States, Rep. Mark Pocan is introducing legislation to abolish Immigration and Customs and Enforcement, or ICE.

Pocan, a Madison-area Democrat, said Monday he plans to introduce the legislation this week. His proposal would dismantle ICE and create a commission to offer recommendations to Congress for the implementation of a "humane immigration enforcement system."

"During my trip to the southern border, it was clear that ICE, and its actions of hunting down and tearing apart families, has wreaked havoc on far too many people," Pocan said in a statement. "From conducting raids at garden centers and meatpacking plants, to breaking up families at churches and schools, ICE is tearing apart families and ripping at the moral fabric of our nation. Unfortunately, President Trump and his team of white nationalists, including Stephen Miller, have so misused ICE that the agency can no longer accomplish its goals effectively."

Last week, the president signed an executive order to effectively end the controversial practice of separating children from their detained parents at the border. 

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Calls to abolish ICE have not resonated throughout the political left wing in its entirety. In a Sunday morning interview with CNN's Jake Tapper, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, an Independent who ran for president as a Democrat in 2016, evaded a question about the agency and, in effect, declined to call for its abolishment. 

Other Democrats have argued that the most serious problems with ICE stem from a lack of broader reforms to the country's immigration system.

Pocan is the first Wisconsin elected official to call for the agency's end, but not the first Democrat in the state to do so. Iron worker Randy Bryce, one of two candidates running in the state's 1st Congressional District, did so early in April.

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Jessie Opoien covers state government and politics for the Capital Times. She joined the Cap Times in 2013 and has also covered Madison life, race relations, culture and music. She has also covered education and politics for the Oshkosh Northwestern.