Opinion

White House welcomed but ICE shut out from Gang of 8 talks

Although White House officials have sat in on the Senate’s bipartisan “Gang of Eight” immigration reform negotiations, law enforcement officials, who will actually be saddled with implementing the legislation, have been excluded.

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ICE Union president Chris Crane. Photo credit www.theglobaldispatch.com

“While Obama has allowed Senate negotiators to work on a compromise that can win approval, a White House staff member attends each staff-level meeting to monitor progress and assist with the technical aspects of writing the bill,” the Washington Post reported according to Breitbart News.

The Senate’s so-called “Gang of Eight,” compromised of an equal number of Republicans and Democrats, has been negotiating for months to hammer out a compromise immigration bill. While the White House has participated in these meetings, representation from Immigration and Customs Enforcement was missing.

“We have tried for weeks, unsuccessfully, to get a meeting with the Gang of 8 in order to share our deep concerns about the breakdown of interior enforcement in America,” National ICE Council president Chris Crane said in the statement released Sunday.

Thus far, only one hearing has been scheduled by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Pat Leahy, D-Vt. on the estimated 1,500-page bill. It’s been set for Wednesday afternoon with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

“ICE’s political leadership, specifically Secretary Napolitano and Director Morton, have repeatedly and dangerously undermined the ability of ICE officers and agents to do their jobs and ensure the constitutionally established rule of law is upheld,” Crane continued. “Yet, while the Gang of 8 has, as reported for months, worked extensively with powerful interest groups, ICE officers — like the public — have been shut out. Now we understand from media reports that the Gang of 8 is preparing to drop a 1,500 page bill on Tuesday, and pass it as quickly as possible, without having received any input from rank-and-file ICE officers.”

In October, a group of 10 ICE agents and officers sued Napolitano and Morton for issuing orders and memorandums that prevent them from doing their jobs.

“If the Gang is truly committed to enforcement and public safety they should be eager to provide our officers with an opportunity to review this legislation and offer detailed input before it is introduced,” Crane added. “I would therefore respectfully request that the introduction of the bill be delayed so that ICE officers and others in the law enforcement community can be fully briefed on this 1,500 page bill and offer detailed input regarding some of our nation’s most urgent interior enforcement needs that this proposal seemingly does nothing to address.”

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Sen. Marco Rubio. Photo credit www.lifenews.com

On Friday, Crane issued a press release asking that Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., step down from the “Gang” after rumors surfaced that the group’s proposal “offers legalization, or amnesty, before enforcement is accomplished,” according to NPR. If true, this is contrary to what Rubio has promised from the start.

Media from both the left and right have commented on President Obama’s search for a legacy that his administration might be remembered by.

With a lukewarm gun control bill in the Senate, Congressional distain for climate control and a projected $20 trillion national debt by the end of his term, immigration reform may be his last best hope.

H/T Breitbart.com.

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