Agents’ union disavows leaders of ICE

Sees support for ‘amnesty’

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ICE documents show that during the first nine months of fiscal 2010, a total of 279,035 noncitizens were removed from the U.S. as a result of ICE enforcement — a 10 percent increase over the total in fiscal 2008, the last fiscal year of the Bush administration.

But according to the union, illegal immigrants now being held in state and local jails seek out ICE agents for deportation to avoid prosecution, conviction and prison terms. It said criminal aliens “openly brag” that they are taking advantage of a broken immigration system and will be back in the United States within days to commit crimes — while U.S. citizens arrested for the same offenses serve prison sentences.

“ICE senior leadership is aware that the system is broken, yet refuses to alert Congress to the severity of the situation and request additional resources to provide better enforcement and support of local agencies,” the statement said.

The no-confidence vote, taken in June and made public last week in a letter by the union, said the agency’s senior leadership dedicated “more time to campaigning for immigration reforms aimed at large-scale amnesty legislation than advising the American public and federal lawmakers on the severity of the illegal-immigration problems.”

The vote, first reported by the Washington Examiner, said Mr. Morton and Ms. Coven also ignored the need for more manpower and resources within the agency.

Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee and a member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, told The Washington Times that the Obama administration is “simply not serious about enforcing all of our immigration laws.”

Mr. Smith said ICE doesn’t have the resources because it didn’t ask for them, adding that “the Obama administration did not request a single new detention bed in their most recent budget request.”

“So the limits on detention capacity that they now claim hold them back from further enforcement are of their own making,” he said. “What’s more, ICE is running under its average daily detention capacity — the Obama administration is not even using all the resources it has.”

Michael W. Cutler, a retired 31-year U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) senior criminal investigator and intelligence specialist, said the no-confidence vote “makes it clear that the leadership at ICE has politicized a major component of national security at the behest of the administration.”

“It is clear that the marching orders coming from the administration have nothing to do with securing our nation’s borders or enforcing the immigration laws,” Mr. Cutler said.

“It is an absolute absurdity to believe that our nation can successfully wage a war against terrorists who are determined to enter our nation and then embed themselves in our nation with virtually no fear of being identified, arrested or removed from our country,” he said.

Janice Kephart, director of national security policy at the Center for Immigration Studies, described the no-confidence vote in a statement last week as an example of how ICE’s mission was being “skewed towards supporting an unflinching goal of amnesty by refusing to allow agents to do their job.”

Ms. Kephart, former counsel to the Sept. 11 commission and a nationally recognized border-security authority, suggested that ICE leadership — particularly Mr. Morton — needed to pay attention to the no-confidence vote and the concerns expressed by the rank-and-file agents.

“May I suggest that a significant problem with dismissing a no-confidence vote from your entire employee population is, when you run an agency of 7,000 officers and agents, you can’t do your job unless they do theirs?” she said. “Oh wait, that is the whole point, is it not?”

Mr. Morton recently announced new guidelines telling ICE agents to focus on apprehending terrorists and criminals, causing many of agency’s rank-and-file agents to wonder who, then, is responsible for tracking down and detaining the millions of other illegal border-crossers and fugitive aliens now in the country.

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