Democrats' calls to abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement are "reckless and irresponsible" plans that would make the U.S. "absolutely less safe," the acting ICE director told Fox News Wednesday.
Mark Morgan, a former head of the U.S. Border Patrol under President Obama, claimed on "Tucker Carlson Tonight" that human rights violations like child exploitation and human trafficking would increase if the agency was shuttered.
He said ICE's Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) division is crucial to stopping such crimes.
"Last year alone, 34,000 arrests," Morgan said, citing ICE statistics. "Human trafficking cases, child exploitation cases, $1.2 billion in currency seized."
"When you have somebody that puts out the reckless, irresponsible rhetoric about ICE being abolished, that's what's going to happen," he claimed. "This country will absolutely be less safe because of that."
Morgan said 66,000 people had been deported in the first part of 2019, many of whom had additional criminal convictions.
"So, 66,000 [people wouldn't] be deported," he said.
Morgan said he believed Congress must act immediately to fix current policies, like those stipulated under the 1997 Flores v. Reno Settlement, which he claimed impedes ICE's ability to do its job effectively. He also called for lawmakers to increase ICE's funding.
Last year, many prominent lawmakers now running for the Democratic nomination — including Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y. and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. – declared their support for closing the agency.
Fox News' Danielle Wallace contributed to this report.