The borders are safe, everything is fine, there’s nothing to see here. That’s the message the White House would have you believe, and what upsets Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents is that the person who is supposed to represent their interests apparently agrees.
ICE agents deal with more than migrant farm workers overstaying their visas. They deal with drug smugglers and human traffickers while contending with the Obama administration’s politically founded off-the-cuff immigration policies.
AFL-CIO boss Richard Trumka angered the 7,600 members of the National ICE Council, an AFL-CIO affiliate, when he denied border safety was even an issue with its members.
“Unions did have at one point some differences on the [immigration] issue, but the entire labor movement is entirely behind this now,” Trumka told Yahoo! News, according to Human Events. “We’ll be at the table the whole time this thing is being developed to make sure it meets the needs of workers.”
“No President Trumka, there are still differences within the AFL-CIO, and you don’t speak for us,” the ICE union said in a press release last week.
ICE Council President Chris Crane explained the issue further.
“We went directly to the Obama administration as well as the AFL-CIO with real matters of life and death for unionized American law enforcement officers, and they shunned us,” Crane said. “Most of the nation’s immigration enforcement experts at his fingertips, to include immigration officers, agents and attorneys, Trumka has refused our union input on comprehensive immigration reform. …He doesn’t speak on behalf of our workers.”
While Trumka’s attitude has seemingly been “send us your dues and shut the hell up,” the White House feels that ICE has been undermining the administration’s own unilateral efforts at immigration reform.
That leaves the agents’ department and agency bosses to speak up for them — but they haven’t.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, ICE Director John Morton and U.S. Customs and Immigration Services Director Alejandra Mayorkas have all been named as defendants in an October lawsuit filed by 10 ICE agents over memos and directives implementing the president’s executive order to ignore statutory customs and immigration law.
U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., understands the agents’ dilemma and called for Morton’s resignation last week.
“We cannot make progress on immigration reform as long as the man in charge of enforcing our nation’s immigration laws continues to undermine those very laws and the efforts of his own agents,” he said, according to Human Events.
Between Sessions and a federal judge, that makes two on ICE agents’ side.
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