The Washington Times - June 12, 2013, 05:38PM

Border security has dominated the early part of the immigration debate but the union representing immigration agents says the key to solving the problem lies not along the U.S.-Mexico line, but with better interior enforcement.

Sen. John Cornyn’s amendment to require strict border security before illegal immigrants can gain green cards has taken fire from Democrats, who say it’s unworkable.

SEE RELATED: Border War: Security at the center of Senate immigration fight

But Chris Crane, president of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Council, the union for immigration agents and officers, sent a letter to Mr. Cornyn and to Sen. Marco Rubio this week saying that in addition to better border security, they need to unshackle the immigration agents to be able to deport illegal immigrants who still succeed in getting through.

“Any plan is doomed to fail that does not empower ICE agents to enforce laws enacted by Congress — and that does not put an end to the unlawful abuse of prosecutorial discretion by political appointees,” Mr. Crane said in the letter, which was obtained by The Washington Times.

Mr. Crane said that the bill now on the Senate floor — known by its Senate designation as S.744 — actually places new restrictions on agents’ ability to go after illegal immigrants in the interior.

Mr. Rubio’s spokesman, Alex Conant, said they are working to try to bolster enforcement in the bill.

“Senator Rubio has met with Mr. Crane and other ICE officials, and we welcome their suggestions for how to improve the legislation,” Mr. Conant said. “We all agree that the current immigration system is badly broken, which is why we’re working to secure our borders, strengthen interior enforcement, and modernize our legal immigration system.”