Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum won the Democratic nomination in the state’s gubernatorial race Tuesday, putting him one step closer to achieving his dreams of abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement and installing a government-run healthcare program.
Gillum appeared on CNN Wednesday morning to talk about his upset victory over former Democratic congresswoman and party favorite Gwen Graham, and his plans for the general election in November, when he squares off against Trump-backed Republican Rep. Ron DeSantis.
CNN’s John Berman confirmed Gillum’s plans, and questioned how he might prevail despite pushing the wildly unpopular policies.
“The question is will it work in a general election,” Berman said.
“They’re coming for you. They’re already coming for you based on your message,” he said. “Ron DeSantis, the Republican nominee, had a statement last night about you, Andrew Gillum, he says, you want to abolish ICE. You do, correct?”
“We want to replace ICE with the Department of Justice, an entity that has not been tarnished the same way that ICE has,” Gillum confirmed.
“So he says you want to abolish ICE, you say you want to replace it. That’s basically the same thing,” Berman continued. “He says you want a $1 billion tax increase. He says you want a single-payer healthcare system in Florida. You do want Medicare-for-all, correct?”
“That’s absolutely right,” Gillum said.
“I am a champion for treating healthcare as a right and not a privilege,” he said, doubling down. “And expanding Medicaid in the state of Florida for 700,000 people who right now don’t have access to healthcare which costs this state about $6 billion in federal money that should be coming to Florida but right now is being distributed to other states.”
Gillum contends there’s nothing political about government-funded healthcare, and his call to abolish ICE doesn’t seem to address the thousands of arrests illegal immigrants the office carries out from the Miami field offices each year.
In 2017, the Miami office – which also covers Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands – arrested 6,192 immigrants, up from 3,524 the year prior. Deportations from the Miami office were also up from 2016 to 2017, from 5,562 to 7,082, respectively, the Miami New Times reports.
Ironically, total ICE arrests under Trump are actually far lower than under President Obama – the so-called “Deporter-in-Chief.” The Pew Research Center reports the total figure was 143,470 in 2017, compared to nearly 300,000 in 2009.