Mayor Bill de Blasio on Friday joined the growing list of Democrats who've publicly signaled their support for abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement, calling the agency a "punitive, negative tool for division" that is "no longer acceptable."
Speaking on "The Brian Lehrer Show" Friday morning, the mayor said he supported the position put forth by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez—the 28-year-old Democratic socialist who earlier this week stunned longtime congressman Joe Crowley in a primary victory.
"I think that Ms. Ocasio-Cortez is right," de Blasio said. "We should abolish ICE. We should create something better, something different...It is broken. It has been sent, ICE has been sent on a very negative, divisive mission, and it cannot function the way it is."
The mayor added that he still saw a need for “some kind of sensible, transparent immigration regulation."
Shortly after, the mayor's spokesperson Eric Phillips clarified on Twitter that his support for the slogan would not actually mean any change in policy for the way New York City interacts with ICE officials.
No. We’ll need some enforcement agency. But it should be much smaller and more focused on those who are an actual danger to our communities.
— Eric Phillips (@EricFPhillips) June 29, 2018
Following the comments, some local lawmakers took de Blasio to task over his conditional support for providing undocumented immigrants with legal representation, and insistence on excluding New Yorkers who've been convicted of any of 170 felonies deemed "violent and serious."
"Yes Mr Mayor, #AbolishICE, but ALSO abolish your dangerous effort to deny legal representation to many immigrants across NY," tweeted Councilman Carlos Menchaca.
De Blasio, who endorsed Joe Crowley in the primary, also noted on Friday that Ocasio-Cortez "is someone who absolutely comes from my wing of the Democratic Party."