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Washington, D.C. – House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) spoke on the House floor today to express support for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers and personnel and denounce calls for ICE’s abolishment.

Full remarks are below, or watch online here.

“Mr. Speaker, last week Democrats introduced a bill to “abolish ICE”—that’s the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

“I think we should first review that agency’s record.

“As it turns out, ICE agents are on the frontlines in the battle against crime.

“In 2016, they arrested nearly 2,000 human traffickers—criminals who are involved in “modern-day slavery.” Democrats wanted to abolish that.

“Last year ICE agents arrested more than 4,800 gang members—including almost 800 members of MS-13, one of the most vicious gangs operating today. But you wanted to abolish that and put it into our communities.

“And they intercepted more than one ton of fentanyl that was headed for our communities.

“We all should know what fentanyl will do, because we just debated a package of bills to deal with this problem.

“Fentanyl is so deadly that just a few grains of it can kill you.

“Still, the Democrats say they want to abolish this agency.

“But there’s a problem with that—two problems, actually.

“The first problem is that most Americans disagree with you—they want to support ICE. According to a recent poll, just 1-in-4 Americans think we should abolish it.

“The second problem is that Democrats don’t seem to agree about their bill! They lack the courage of their so-called convictions.

“Because when we offered to bring the “Abolish ICE” bill to the floor, Democrats said they would vote against it.

“The Democrats wanted the glory of introducing a far-left bill—but they didn’t have the guts to accept the consequences.

“That’s the kind of leadership the Democrats have to offer.

“And Mr. Speaker, I admit I’m confused listening to the Democratic leadership.

“I was here, I was on the floor, I listened, Mr. Speaker, to the leader on the Democratic side when she said “I recommend voting no, or maybe vote present, or vote however you want.” I’m not sure what position she was requesting when she said all three.

“And I’m not sure exactly what the author wanted to do when he asked his fellow Democrats to co-sponsor his bill, but then said he would vote against it.

“I’m just not sure.

“Today, we’re going to vote on a resolution that does the opposite.

“We are about to vote on a resolution to support the law-enforcement officers of ICE—and renounce the activist campaign against them.

“The danger these officers face is no joke. For those in the back who want to speak during this, I would ask that they get quiet for a moment.

“Because six ICE officers lost their lives defending us.

“They are Special Agent Brian Beliso, Special Agent Timothy Ensley, Special Agent Lorenzo Gomez, Special Agent Scott McGuire, Special Agent David Wilhelm, and Special Agent Jaime Zapata, who was killed by cartel hitmen in Mexico.

“These agents gave their lives in the line of duty. Thousands more of these agents risk their lives every day on your behalf.

“I want you to pause for one moment and think about those agents, think about those families, and think about those thousands of agents who are defending our border. What do they think when a bill comes across saying you want to abolish them?

“How much support do they feel when the leadership of the Democratic Party says “vote no, vote present, vote however you want.”

“Well you know what, when ICE agents risk their lives and stop another human trafficker, save another child—I’ll vote to support them.

“When they stop the amount of drugs coming across and save Americans’ lives—I’ll support them.

“And when they stop an MS-13 gang member from coming into our communities—I’ll support them.

“Mr. Speaker, I’m confused. I understand there’s this growing socialist movement in the Democratic Party. Do they believe we should have no borders? I guess they do today.

“Mr. Speaker, that’s not what Americans asked for. It’s not what Americans support.

“That is why I am happy to offer Congressman Higgins’ resolution—and to stand with the men and women of ICE. Because I want a safer America.

“And for those who gave their lives for us—I will stand with them. Even when it means standing against the new socialist Democratic Party.

“I hope every single one of my colleagues votes in favor.”