Kirsten Gillibrand broke down what her 'Abolish ICE' proposal would look like during a campaign visit to Iowa

Gillibrand campaigning in IowaNew York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand campaigning in IowaNati Harnik/AP

  • New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand laid out how she would implement her "Abolish ICE" plan while campaigning in Iowa.
  • The 2020 presidential candidate reportedly said Saturday morning that she wants two separate agencies dealing with terrorism and migrants; currently, the Department of Homeland Security oversees both areas.
  • Gillibrand has moved left on immigration after starting her political career as a centrist who voted to increase funding so Immigration and Customs Enforcement could work with local police departments.

Campaigning in Iowa, New York Senator and 2020 presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand said immigration and terrorism monitoring should not be handled by the same agency, as it currently is by the Department of Homeland Security.

Gillibrand, who was the first sitting senator to join the "Abolish ICE" movement in June of last year, told reporters that she would have a separate agency handling crime and terrorism than the one also dealing with migrants, according to a tweet from Washington Post congressional reporter Dave Weigel.

The plan would pull immigration enforcement, specifically ICE, from the Department of Homeland Security, which has housed the unit since its creation following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Read more: New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand announces she's running for president in 2020

Calls to abolish the enforcement agency heated up during the summer when President Donald Trump's "zero tolerance" policy for migrants at the southern border led to thousands of young children being separated from their families. This week, a federal watchdog announced that thousands of more children were separated from their families than were previously known.

Gillibrand however has been branded by critics as an opportunist, due to her past stances on immigration. When she started her political career, she called the border a "national security priority" in her campaign for an upstate New York House of Representative seat in 2006.

After she was elected, she fought against former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer's attempt to allow undocumented immigrants to get driver's licenses and co-sponsored a bill that would have added to ICE's personnel by more than 1,000 officers.

She has since called her past stances embarrassing as she has moved left on several issues since joining the Senate in 2009, where she took over Hillary Clinton's seat.

SEE ALSO: As the government shutdown over Trump's border wall rages, a journey along the entire 1,933-mile US-Mexico border shows the monumental task of securing it
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