U.S. Senator John Kennedy has filed a resolution that could lead to a congressional denouncement of the movement to abolish the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency.

Calls to Abolish ICE have mounted in recent months in the wake of the White House’s No Tolerance immigration policies, such as family separations. Kennedy says those calls are misplaced, calling ICE agents patriots who protect national security.

“ICE agents arrest about 120,000 people who came to our country illegally and committed crimes. I’m talking about kidnapping, murder, assault, rape.

US Congressman Clay Higgins has filed a similar resolution in the House.

The early to mid-2010’s saw a large uptick in the number of Central and South American immigrants entering the country, many of them settling in New Orleans, working in construction during the post-Katrina rebuild. Kennedy says ICE exists to stop illegal immigration and prevent criminals from entering the country.

“I know that our Democratic friends and the radical left try to portray all of the illegal immigrants as just poor innocent folks, but some of these folks are dangerous.”

But immigration activists say that just isn’t the case, and point to crime rate data that shows that undocumented immigrants are statistically less likely to commit crime than legal citizens. Congress of Day Laborers Organizer Rachel Taber says members of their organization who have been deported or separated were not a threat to their communities, like mother of two Jaime Galino Madrid.

“One of our members was arrested by ICE last year right around Mother’s Day, leaving behind a three-year-old child and a nine-month-old baby, with no one, you know, no immediate family, no one to care for them.”

Congresso member Adolfo, who says he came to Louisiana 14 years ago as a minor, and works construction in disaster recovery zones, says the agency has been targeting longtime residents as well as journalists like Manuel Durand, who he says has been detained in Louisiana. Adolfo says ICE isn’t fighting terrorism, they’re committing it.

“The government is using ICE as an agency to terrorize our communities. Not only are families being impacted, but people’s constitutional rights are being violated.”

Kennedy says if immigration activists want to change immigration law, they need to pass legislation instead of calling for the end of ICE. He says the abolition calls are part of left-wing animus towards all law enforcement, and says its part of a larger radical agenda to reshape the country.

“They want to get rid of border laws, they just want to open our borders, and to say well we need to have completely open borders, and anybody who wants to can come into America, the people who are espousing that are living in la-la land.”

But Adolfo says ICE is a relatively new federal agency that could be removed without jeopardizing national security.

“We have to remember that before 2003, ICE as an agency did not even exist. There was no department that carried out this work.”

Adolfo and Taber say instead of ICE and No Tolerance immigration, the federal government should pursue policies that would decriminalize undocumented immigrants and create a pathway to legal status.

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