President Trump defends ICE amid increasing calls from Democrats to abolish the agency

PHOTO: President Donald Trump speaks at a Foxconn facility, June 28, 2018, in Mt. Pleasant, Wis.PlayEvan Vucci/AP
WATCH Immigration crisis involving separated families gets more complicated

President Donald Trump took to Twitter Saturday morning to attack Democrats over increased calls among the left ranks of the party for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency to be eliminated.

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"The Democrats are making a strong push to abolish ICE, one of the smartest, toughest and most spirited law enforcement groups of men and women that I have ever seen," Trump tweeted from his private golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey. "I have watched ICE liberate towns from the grasp of MS-13 & clean out the toughest of situations. They are great!"

It was not immediately clear what the president was referring to in saying the agency had "liberated" entire towns.

PHOTO: President Donald Trump speaks at a Foxconn facility, June 28, 2018, in Mt. Pleasant, Wis. Evan Vucci/AP
President Donald Trump speaks at a Foxconn facility, June 28, 2018, in Mt. Pleasant, Wis.

But the tweet falls in line with what has been a public relations-style push by ICE and its allies in the Department of Homeland Security to downplay the imagery of family separations resulting from the administration's "zero tolerance" immigration policy.

Democrats have responded to the nationwide outcry over young immigrant children being separated from their parents to bring more attention to the #AbolishICE movement that calls for the agency to be disbanded entirely.

PHOTO: Authorities take action to reopen Portlands Immigration and Customs Enforcement headquarters, June 28, 2018 in Portland, Ore., as demonstrations had forced it to closed for more than a week. Mark Graves/The Oregonian via AP
Authorities take action to reopen Portland's Immigration and Customs Enforcement headquarters, June 28, 2018 in Portland, Ore., as demonstrations had forced it to closed for more than a week.

In the past week, the position has gained traction with notable figures in the party, including New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio joining the movement.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the Democratic socialist candidate who achieved a shocking win Tuesday over Rep. Joe Crowley in the New York Democratic primary, touted the abolition of ICE as a key platform in her campaign.

"The radical left Dems want you out," Trump said Saturday. "Next it will be all police. Zero chance, It will never happen!"

The president's forceful defense of the agency comes as immigration advocates are expected to hold large rallies across the country Saturday over the family separation controversy.

PHOTO: President Donald Trump speaks to reporters on board Air Force One, June 29, 2018, on his way to Bedminster, N.J. Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP
President Donald Trump speaks to reporters on board Air Force One, June 29, 2018, on his way to Bedminster, N.J.

While the president signed an executive order that put a halt to the separation of families who are detained trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border, the government has not yet been able to provide clarity on the status of the more than 2,000 children who were originally separated from their parents under the "zero tolerance" policy.