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Amid Growing Calls to Abolish ICE, Sanders Calls for Abolishing America's Entire 'Cruel, Dysfunctional Immigration System'

"We must not be about forcing over 10 million undocumented people, many of whom have been here for decades, to continue living in fear and anxiety. Congress must do what the American people want. Let us create a humane and rational immigration system."

 Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) speaks during a Federal Spending Oversight And Emergency Management Subcommittee hearing June 6, 2018 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)

Highlighting the fact that America's inhumane treatment of immigrants reaches far beyond the despicable behavior of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)—an agency that a growing number of citizens and lawmakers have said they want to abolish—Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) argued in a series of tweets on Tuesday that Congress must go further and "abolish the cruel, dysfunctional immigration system we have today and pass comprehensive immigration reform."

"Bernie calls for abolishing our entire immigration system, which is honestly way further to the left than solely abolishing ICE." —Max Rivlin-Nadler, The Appeal

"That will mean restructuring the agencies that enforce our immigration laws, including ICE," Sanders wrote, noting that he opposed the establishment of ICE in 2002. "We must not be about tearing small children away from their families. We must not be about deporting DREAMers, young people who have lived in this country virtually their entire lives."


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Advocacy groups and activists celebrated Sanders' Twitter statement on Tuesday as a testament to the strength of the grassroots movement pushing for far-reaching reform that would both end the Trump administration's barbaric practices and confront the systemic cruelty of the American immigration system that existed long before Trump arrived on the political scene.

"Bernie calls for abolishing our entire immigration system, which is honestly way further to the left than solely abolishing ICE," Max Rivlin-Nadler, immigration and criminal justice reporter for The Appeal, argued in response to Sanders' statement. "Which, I know, is not what people who say 'abolish ICE' only want—they too want to change our entire immigration system. Just saying that this possibly encompasses an even broader and more transformative change, albeit under a less catchy chant."

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