Transcript of Congressman Higgins’ speech:
“Mr. Speaker, for weeks now, the ‘abolish ICE’ movement has been growing in popularity on the Left, with many Democrats embracing this radical policy stance.
I find it extremely ironic that calls to abolish the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency come only one year after 159 House Democrats voted to pass landmark legislation – introduced by my colleague, Chairman Michael McCaul – reauthorizing ICE and other DHS agencies for the first time since their inception after 9/11.
Mr. Speaker, calls to abolish ICE are reckless, dangerous to America’s national security interests, and threaten the well-being of our ICE agents. As a member of the Thin Blue Line, this attack on ICE is personal to me.
The men and women of ICE serve as America’s frontline defenders against human, drug, and weapons traffickers. ICE agents locate, arrest, and deport violent gang members and criminal aliens who threaten public safety.
Last year alone, ICE arrested more than 127,000 criminal aliens responsible for:
- 76,000 dangerous drug offenses;
- 48,000 assault offenses;
- 11,000 weapons offenses;
- 5,000 sexual assault offenses;
- 2,000 kidnapping offenses;
- 1,800 homicide offenses.
Further, ICE agents made more than 4,800 gang-related arrests, rescued 518 victims of human trafficking, and seized a million pounds of narcotics last year.
The campaign against ICE is the latest rallying cry for open borders, the latest call to prioritize illegal immigrants over American citizens, the latest shrill cacophony from the Left to vilify and demonize frontline law enforcement in America.
Democrats are making it very clear to the American people that they stand against efforts to secure America’s borders.
Americans overwhelmingly support law and order. I speak for a coalition of Conservative members of Congress as I introduce this resolution affirming support for ICE personnel and condemning the dangerous call from the Left to abolish ICE.
Let me state further, that affirming support for ICE should not be the end of our efforts. We should be doing more to secure our borders and provide our frontline defenders with the resources necessary to accomplish their mission, and we should end dangerous sanctuary policies.
Today, the House will vote on our resolution formally stating congressional support for ICE personnel and their mission. Despite the rhetoric being pushed by the Left, the American people support Immigration & Customs Enforcement. Their service should be respected.
Very soon, We the People will know where every member of this Congress stands.
Mr. Speaker, it saddens me to say. It has been brought my attention that some of my colleagues across the aisle plan to vote ‘present’ on today’s resolution. I would remind them that our constituents elected us as their voice in the People’s House.
We were not elected to be silent. The American people deserve to know where every member of this body stands. To vote ‘present’ on this resolution reflects fear. The American Citizenry deserves a courageous vote.
I urge my colleagues to look into their heart, vote on this resolution reflective of your own deepest belief, and as you do so, remember that we have we have all been elected to serve American citizens, American interests, and America’s future.
I yield back.”