ATLANTA – Several prominent Democrats forging a bid for the White House in 2020 wanted to step up their progress this week, calling for major changes in immigration. Some urged the complete abolition of the Federal Government's main immigration agency
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York said Immigration and Customs Enforcement, known as ICE, had become "a deportation force".
"You should get rid of it, start over, reinvent it and build something that really works," she told CNN late Thursday.
Her comments follow similar sentiments expressed by Sen. Kamala Harris of California last week. She has said in interviews with several bodies that the government should "perhaps" or "probably" start an immigration office "from scratch".
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Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who sought the Democratic nomination in 201
Democrats' call to abolish the agency underscores the balancing act the party faces with regard to immigration. Such rhetoric could do little to help the ten Democratic Senators to be re-elected this fall in the states that are to be re-elected in 2016 in the Trump states, which have conservative views on immigration. But calling for an end to the ICE could be a win for the Democrats seeking to mobilize the party base in the 2020 presidential election.
Many anti-Trump activists who promote the Twitter hashtag #abolishICE have been celebrating Gillibrand's moves. Harris and others
Nelini Stamp, the national organizer of the Working Families Party, one of many progressive groups that spurred their activity after Trump's election, called this a "critical moment" in the first maneuvers for 2020.  "All Democrats who want to be candidates need to be on the right page, "said Stamp. "Even if they do not say ICE, they can not handle it."
Angel Padilla, Univisible's political director, said ICE "terrorized communities" and that Gillibrand's movement "shows where the progressive base is."
Yet, not every immigrant group agrees.
Cristobal Alex, president of the Latino Victory Project, a political action group that supports immigrants, denied ICE. Litmus test. But he said it was "encouraging" that immigration policy in general "is at the forefront of the pre-2020 dialogue.
Alex said his group had met privately with several potential presidential candidates.
Alex said, "The Trump government should" stop the long-lasting culture of corruption in US immigration policies and the "horrific practices" , not a move that in itself means "rebranding"  In fact, the would-be presidential candidates have not yet described exactly what they're suggesting at ICE. Harris had introduced legislation to stem the expansion of detention centers for immigrants prior to the border demarcation crisis. She and Gillibrand and others have at least hinted that they want law enforcement law enforcement to be less involved in border security.
Whatever the details, the focus on ICE could cause problems for some potential candidates with more conservative records of immigration.
Former Vice President Joe Biden, a Senator from Delaware, voted in favor of the 2002 Act – the Homeland Security Act – which paved the way for ICE to replace the immigration and naturalization service. He also voted in 2006 for a border security measure backed by the Bush administration. Biden, however, has critically contrasted Trump's immigration policy as he considers a 2020 run. Earlier this year, Biden convened a private event with the Latino Victory Project in Miami
The activists who pushed for the abolition of the ICE said they were not worried about possible setbacks or difficulties for Democrats with more conservative voters possibly influenced by Trump's Repeated Allegations That Democrats Advocate "Open Borders"
At the Working Families Party, Stamp said they saw the activists take a position that offers "space" to other Democrats who disagree with them. "We're giving them space to talk about better immigration policies," she said, comparing the circumstances to the civil rights movement when Martin Luther King Jr. was judged more favorably by white power brokers than by harsher leaders such as Malcolm X.  "Martin Luther King never said, "Black Power & # 39;" said Stamp. "But having the left flank has got the right people talking at least to King."