The bill includes $176 million for 1,000 new Border Patrol agents for a strike force for critical areas, $89 million for 500 ICE personnel, $32 million for unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, and $196 million for the Justice Department to bolster its forces along the border of U.S. marshals, and agents from the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
The Congressional Conversation Index is reporting that immigration has risen again to the top of the list of issues eliciting citizen engagement with Congress in July.
The index found that concern over immigration has risen by roughly 53 percent in the past month, presumably as a result of continuing debate over Arizona’s immigration law. Representatives received an average of 145 recorded e-mails, letters or calls regarding the issue throughout July.
Last week, the National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council of the American Federation of Government Employees, which represents 7,000 ICE agents and employees, issued a statement saying the union had unanimously passed a “vote of no confidence” for Mr. Morton. The statement said ICE had “abandoned” its core mission of protecting the public to support a political agenda favoring amnesty.
The 259-0 vote said that instead of enforcing U.S. immigration laws and providing for public safety, ICE had directed its attention “to campaigning for programs and policies related to amnesty and the creation of a special detention system for foreign nationals that exceeds the care and services provided to most U.S. citizens similarly incarcerated.”
The statement said the integrity of the agency “as well as the public safety” would be “better provided for in the absence of Director Morton” and Phyllis Coven, assistant director of the agency’s office of detention policy and planning.
ICE called the statement “creative collective-bargaining tactics,” but pledged to continue to work with the union “to address substantive issues in the interests of making our communities safer.” It also said the agency is removing record numbers of criminal aliens, up 35 percent from a year ago.
Sheriff Babeu, who leads the third-largest sheriff’s office in the state with 700 full-time employees, won his first term in a landslide election in 2008. Sheriff Dever is serving his fourth term in Cochise County, where he has been in law enforcement for 34 years.
The Legacy Foundation, a nonpartisan tax-exempt charity, has established a fund to help pay for the legal defense of Arizona’s new immigration law against the Justice Department lawsuit and the lawsuit brought by the ACLU against the state’s county sheriffs.