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ICE Agent Faces Suspension For Arresting Illegal Alien and Disobeying Orders to Let Him Walk


"If a law enforcement officer can’t perform routine enforcement functions, what do we have a law enforcement agency for?" -- ICE Agents: Morale Is in the Toilet --

A veteran Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agent is facing suspension after he refused to release an illegal alien who was not considered a "presidential priority" under the Obama administration's new relaxed immigration enforcement polices, Fox News reports.

“They’re punishing law enforcement officers who are just trying to uphold U.S. law,” said Chris Crane, president of the National ICE Council. Crane is a union representative speaking on behalf of the unidentified officer, an 18-year law enforcement and military veteran.

The incident occurred on March 27, 2012 while he and another agent were conducting surveillance on a vehicle with plates registered to a wanted illegal alien in Newark, Del. During their operation, an individual got into the vehicle. Rightfully so, he was then detained, interrogated and brought into an ICE office to take his fingerprints to be run through a federal database.

“The officer made the determination using prosecutorial discretion that he would charge (the suspect) as being in the United States illegally and let the judge sort it out,” Crane told Fox News.

“That’s our place in the universe,” he said. “We’re supposed to make arrests and let the judges and the legal system sort through the details.”

However, two of the officer's supervisors, including the acting field director, stepped in and demanded that they release the illegal alien right away. Crane said the acting field director told the illegal immigrant that he was going to be cut loose because he wasn't a "presidential priority."

“You had the supervisors intervening with the alien to assist the alien and counsel the alien on avoiding receiving a charging document,” he said.

(RELATED: Report: Illegal Aliens Released by Federal Gov't Committed 19 Murders, 142 Sex Crimes)

In other words, an illegal alien found an advocate in the very agency that is charged with enforcing federal immigration law.

More from Fox News' Todd Starnes:

The officer’s supervisors ordered the officer to release the illegal – an order the officer refused.

According to a “Notice of Proposed Suspension,” dated July 19, the officer “failed to follow these supervisory instructions, when you arrested a non-targeted alien who did not appear to meet any of the ICE priorities.”

A memorandum from Assistant Field Office Director David O’Neill, written the morning of the incident, reveals that the officers were told to release the subject even though he was in the country illegally.

The officer “became agitated and began to raise his voice and stated that he would not do as instructed,” O’Neill wrote in his memo.

As a result of disobeying the order to release a known criminal, the officer faces a three-day suspension and could ultimately lose his job and pension if he arrests another illegal not on the Obama administration’s priority list.

"They’re willing to take away their retirement, their job, their ability to support their families in favor of someone who is here illegally and violating our laws," Crane told Fox News.

"Right now (the Obama administration) is standing in the way of us enforcing the law by either taking a disciplinary action, threats of disciplinary action, or refusing to sign off on charging documents to put an illegal alien into immigration proceedings so a judge can sort it out."

Crane says President Obama's decision to lean towards amnesty has had a devastating effect on ICE agents.

“Our hands are tied much more than your average police officer,” Crane said. “Normally an officer would have made an arrest like this, processed him, put the paper work in front of the supervisor and they would have signed off on it.”

The illegal alien in this case is 35-years-old and has accumulated 10 traffic violations. Yet, he was released with no charges filed against him.

This was made possible by the Department of Homeland Security, who announced in June a series of drastic changes in immigration policy. The new guidelines allow younger illegal immigrants to stay in the country and gain work permits through the use of "prosecutorial discretion."

Those who have not been convicted of a "felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise poses a threat to national security or public safety; and is not above the age of thirty" may be eligible under the new rules.

Unfortunately, this case is not an isolated incident. Fox News reports that just last month, an illegal alien injured an officer as he tried to escape police in El Paso. Keep in mind, assaulting a federal officer is a federal offense. But thanks to President Obama's new police, the illegal was released without any criminal or immigration-related charges because he was not a priority target.

"We can’t do anything anymore under these new guidelines,” he added. "If a law enforcement officer can’t perform routine enforcement functions, what do we have a law enforcement agency for?"

The Obama administration also announced plans to close nine border patrol stations across four states last month and ended the 287(g) program, which allowed local law enforcement agencies to enforce federal immigration law without assistance from federal authorities.

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