The president of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement union is warning business leaders pushing for comprehensive immigration reform that they are putting the nation, law enforcement officers and the public at risk.
Chris Crane, president of the National ICE Council, made the charge in a two-page letter Tuesday to the heads of Marriott International, the McDonald’s Corporation, the Cheesecake Factory, General Mills and others advocating for immigration reform.
“ICE officers arguably know more about our nation’s broken immigration system than any group in the United States,” wrote Crane, whose union represents 7,000 ICE officers and employees. “Yet President Barrack Obama and the Gang of Eight actively prohibited them from having any input. Only influential and affluent groups and wealthy individuals like you were given the opportunity to provide real input on our nation’s new immigration laws.”
Crane wrote that while the immigration legislation “may satisfy your personal and financial objectives, it undermines immigration enforcement and worsens immigration problems currently experienced in the United States.”
“As you fight for special protections and legalization for violent criminal offenders and gang members illegally in the United States, certainly must realize that in doing so you sacrifice the safety of every man, woman and child residing in the United States, regardless of citizenship,” he wrote.
More than 100 major companies signed on to a letter in September pushing for immigration reform. President Barack Obama met with business leaders at the White House Tuesday to discuss strategies for the legislation.
Meanwhile, a number of Republican lawmakers are also advising against comprehensive immigration legislation. House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, who has drafted the only border security bill in currently in the House, said border security needs to come before immigration reform.
“Contrary to what the administration says, our borders are not secure,” McCaul (R-Texas) told TheBlaze. “We must force the administration to finally give our border states the tools and manpower they need to secure the border, and make (the Department of Homeland Security) prove that their efforts are working.”
Frustrated by the lack of action, one ICE official who works along the southwestern U.S. border, speaking on the condition that they not be named because of their work, told TheBlaze that “it sickens us when the laws work against us and we end up releasing child molesters, drug dealers and the worst type of criminals back to the streets.”
Crane said he is constantly fielding such complaints from ICE officers.
“Nothing has been fixed,” he told The Blaze. “Nothing at all. We have about 600,000 to 800,000 fugitives at large — ordered deported and they just refuse to leave. We’re told if they don’t have a certain type of criminal convictions then don’t go after them and if we catch them we’re not supposed to catch them.”
Crane accused the administration of being obstructionist, and said ICE officers are being asked “to break the very laws they are supposed to adhere to” because they are kept from deporting lawbreakers, but don’t have the appropriate tools to do so and have a bureaucracy that works against them.
The comprehensive immigration reform package that passed the Democrat-controlled Senate this summer included granting legal status to the approximately 11 million illegal aliens currently in the U.S. while also increasing border security. The measure, which passed the Senate with some bipartisan support, faces an uncertain future in the Republican-controlled House.
Following last month’s government shutdown, President Barack Obama called for Congress to pass immigration reform by the end of the year.
In his letter to corporate business leaders, Crane wondered whether Congress and the White House would reach out to law enforcement for their input.
“Are you willing to support an immigration plan that will put officers and the public in danger simply because it includes special items that advance the financial or political interests of your group or company,” he wrote. “Are we in law enforcement not worthy of your respect?”