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Gov. Doug Ducey says calls to abolish ICE are ‘election year rallying cry’

(AP Photo/Matt York)

PHOENIX — Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey pushed back on his fellow politicians who have called to abolish the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, calling the move an “election year rallying cry.”

Ducey first raised the issue in an opinion article he wrote Tuesday for USA Today. In it, he argued that law enforcement agencies like ICE “aren’t the enemy: they’re a lifeline.

“As a border state governor who wakes up every day and goes to sleep every night with the safety and security of Arizona citizens at the top of mind, I want to be clear — this call to abolish ICE is not only wrong — it is reckless, and puts the people of my state and others in direct threat,” Ducey wrote.

The Arizona governor, who is currently running for re-election, told KTAR News 92.3 FM that he believes border security is national security, and dismantling ICE would open the gate to horrible tragedies such as the September 11 terrorist attacks.

“I think that the opportunistic politicians who are talking about collapsing an agency that is a result of the development of Homeland Security in the wake of 9/11 should stop as an election year rallying cry,” Ducey said.

“I just want to be outspoken as someone who is leading a state that’s been dealing with these border issues for years.”

Ducey pointed to the nearly 5,000 arrests of violent gang members made by ICE agents last year as a major reason that the agency should continue to operate.

“Their work has national implications,” he said.

Calls to dismantle the federal law enforcement agency were previously thought of as rallying cries from far left-wing politicians, but have been picked up by more moderate lawmakers after Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez beat incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley in the Democratic primary for New York’s 14th congressional district last month. Ocasio-Cortez ran on a platform of abolishing the agency.

In Arizona, some of the politicians who have joined the call to dismantle ICE include state Sens. Juan Mendez and Martín J. Quezada, state Reps. Athena Salman and Rebecca Rios, Flagstaff City Council member Eva Putzova and Balsz School District governing board member Channel Powe, according to The Intercept.

Other high-profile Arizona Democrats, including U.S. Reps. Ruben Gallego and Raul Grijalva, have called for the re-structuring of ICE, but have stopped short of calling for its abolishment.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Martha Maurer contributed to this report. 

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