By James Wigderson for Media Trackers
Randy Bryce, the leading Democratic candidate hoping to challenge House Speaker Paul Ryan in Wisconsin’s first congressional district, has called for an end to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, according to a report in The Hill on Tuesday.
“Rather than deporting immigrants who pose a risk to the nation’s security, ICE has grown power hungry, sucking up more and more federal resources and directing them towards the deportation of children and families, who are otherwise completely law-abiding,” reads a portion of Bryce’s platform on his website.
Bryce’s call to abolish ICE was made during a campaign event at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside on Monday. Bryce’s plan to abolish the agency was sharply criticized by Republicans on Wednesday.
“This radical proposal is completely out of touch with Main Street, Wisconsin,” said Chris Martin, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee. “ICE plays a vital role in fighting deadly gangs, preventing terrorism, and ending sex trafficking operations.”
ICE was established during the administration of President George W. Bush as part of the organization of the Department of Homeland Security. ICE replaced the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement after the agency failed to track the terrorists of September 11, 2001 who had overstayed their student visas.
“Randy Bryce would put our communities in grave danger,” Martin warned.
In addition to Bryce’s call to abolish ICE, the Democratic candidate also called for the end of President Donald Trump’s travel ban, removing questions about citizenship from the census, the elimination of requiring local law enforcement agencies to cooperate with federal immigration policies, and a “clean” bill allowing illegal immigrants brought here as children a path to citizenship.
Bryce, nicknamed “the Iron ‘Stache,” is running in the Democratic primary against Cathy Myers, a member of the Janesville school board. The winner of the primary election in August will take on Ryan in November.
After his campaign announcement video went viral, Bryce’s candidacy became the favorite of national Democrats and some Hollywood celebrities. However, since his candidacy was launched, Bryce’s campaign has been the subject of a number of controversies. Most notably, Bryce was behind on his child support payments until after he declared his candidacy. Shortly after that matter was cleared, another long-standing personal debt was cleared by an as-yet unidentified lawyer from the Democratic Party who negotiated a settlement on Bryce’s behalf.