- TBS’ Samantha Bee on Wednesday joined the increasingly popular movement to abolish the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
- Bee argued that ICE has grown emboldened and cruel under the Trump administration, and has split up families, deported non-criminal immigrants, and even detained American citizens.
- “So no, let’s not just reform ICE or fix it, or hope it gets better under a different president,” she said, “let’s shut it the f— down.”
Late night host Samantha Bee joined a growing chorus of largely left-wing voices calling for the abolition of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the controversial law-enforcement agency that President Donald Trump has empowered to dramatically ramp up the pace of deportations from the US.
“Abolishing ICE shouldn’t be controversial – despite what Fox News would have you believe, it doesn’t mean we let immigrants who commit actual crimes go free,” Bee said during her TBS show, “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee,” Wednesday night. “We already have mechanisms to prosecute them through something called ‘the law.'”
Bee seized upon a widely circulated clip of the acting ICE director, Thomas Homan, appearing to become emotional while speaking in California last week, railing against pundits and politicians who have condemned ICE agents for stoking fear throughout immigrant communities.
“I’m sick and tired of the constant vilification of these men and women who leave their homes every day and strap a gun to their hip, leave the safety and security of their families to defend this nation, and to defend their neighborhoods,” Homan said.
Several media outlets had covered his impassioned remarks, mocking him for being upset by the criticism directed at ICE agents while the agency has made headlines over deporting children, arresting immigrants without criminal records, and even detaining American citizens.
But Bee offered up a solution on Wednesday.
“If that criticism of ICE makes you sad, here’s a proposal: Let’s shut it the f— down,” she said. “I’m serious, it’s awful, and we don’t need it.”
Bee touched upon several arguments ICE opponents have made in recent months, particularly the fact that ICE has only existed since 2003 and has become a symbol of the US’s emboldened and often overzealous national-security apparatus spurred on by the 9/11 attacks.
“By putting the anti-terrorism people in charge of immigration, the government signaled that immigrants are a threat, but ICE’s own figures show that most of the immigrants in detention pose no threat to the public,” Bee said.
She also argued that ICE’s power has noticeably expanded under the Trump administration, emboldening racists and xenophobes across the country who are suspicious of immigrants in their own communities. Bee cited a viral video clip of New York City lawyer Aaron Schlossberg, who threatened to call ICE on people he overheard speaking Spanish in a restaurant last week.
“The US government should not be in the business of tearing happy families apart, it’s disgusting. And it makes a–holes like this think they’re being good citizens,” Bee said. “So no, let’s not just reform ICE or fix it, or hope it gets better under a different president, let’s shut it the f— down. If former ICE agents need a job, may I suggest the law office of Aaron Schlossberg – I think there’s a vacancy.”
Watch Bee’s remarks below: