Matt Albence, the acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, on Thursday slammed lawmakers who "vilify" and push negative rhetoric of the agency, saying it puts agents in danger.
"The safety and security of our personnel – officers and non-officers alike – is our primary concern," Albence said during a White House press briefing. "I think that's why we've been so strident with our concerns about the ugly rhetoric that has been utilized around this issue and the vilification of the men and women of ICE and CBP and our other DHS partners that are merely enforcing the laws that Congress has passed."
Several ICE facilities across the United States have been attacked over the past few months, including in mid-August when armed perpetrators shot at ICE offices in San Antonio, Texas. A similar attack occurred July 14 when a man associated with Antifa attempted to assault an ICE detention center in Tacoma, Washington, with a rifle and "incendiary devices."
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., in June compared migrant detention centers on the southern border to concentration camps.
Other Democratic lawmakers, including Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., have pushed to either get rid of ICE, re-examine the agency or replace it with something else.
"I'm very concerned; it's dangerous," Albence said of the attacks. "And hopefully those people that have opinions as to how immigration enforcement should be conducted would do so in a professional and responsible manner."
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