Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand called for the end of Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Thursday evening.
In an interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo, the New York Democrat said she believes it is time to “reimagine” the controversial agency with a “very different mission.”
“I don’t think ICE today is working as intended. … I believe that it has become a deportation force, and I think you should separate the criminal justice from the immigration issues,” Gillibrand, a potential 2020 presidential contender, said on “Cuomo PrimeTime.”
“I think you should reimagine ICE under a new agency with a very different mission and take those two missions out,” she added.
Gillibrand’s comments came as the country’s top lawmakers continue to grapple with immigration issues. On Wednesday, CNN reported a Republican bill failed by an even wider margin than expected and had far less Republican support than a more conservative bill that failed last week.
President Donald Trump signed an executive order last week aimed at keeping undocumented immigrant families together after US policies resulted in thousands of children being separated from their parents after crossing the border.
“We believe that we should protect families who need our help and that is not what ICE is doing today, and that’s why I believe you should get rid of it, start over, reimagine it and build something that actually works,” Gillibrand said.
CNN’s Lauren Fox contributed to this report.