Democratic New York gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon called U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) a “terrorist organization” and launched a petition to abolish it.
“ICE has strayed so far from its mission. It’s supposed to be here to keep Americans safe but what it’s turned into is frankly a terrorist organization of its own,” Nixon told NY1. “It’s terrorizing people who are coming to this country.”
She then posted a tweet that linked to a petition to eliminate ICE, which was founded in 2002 as part of the Department of Homeland Security. In the tweet, she also associated ICE with its “egomaniacal leader” Donald Trump.
Nixon made her comment on Thursday night during a speech on immigration in New York City during a particularly fraught moment in the country, when thousands of children are being detained and separated from their families as they attempt to enter the country. Chilling videos of children being kept in cages have stirred many high profile celebrities and politicians to speak out against the Trump administration policy.
In addition, ICE has been ramping up the number of surprise raids in places like 7-Eleven and meatpacking plants as anti-immigrant tensions increase alongside Trump’s racist rhetoric. The increased number of arrests even led the agency to strike a deal with the Federal Bureau of Prisons to send over 1,600 of its detainees to federal prison “as a temporary measure.”