President Trump has reached out to the country’s deportation officers and asked for a meeting after their union president, Chris Crane, wrote a letter expressing disappointment in the slow pace of change at Homeland Security.
In the Nov. 13 letter, first reported by The Washington Times, Mr. Crane, president of the National Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Council, said what was happening at the government’s chief interior immigration enforcement agency was “an embarrassment.”
Mr. Crane told the president of officers ordered to remove bullet proof vests for fear of angering illegal immigrants, and of dysfunction within agency leadership.
The ICE Council endorsed Mr. Trump during the presidential campaign and had anticipated having an open line of communication but Mr. Crane said that hasn’t happened, blaming the president’s aides for shutting stifling the relationship.
“Attempts to communicate concerns to you and requests for meetings with you are simply ignored,” Mr. Crane wrote, saying the union felt “betrayed.”
After the letter the president reached out and asked for a call, Mr. Crane says on jicreport.com, a new website the ICE Council set up to tell its story.
“I’m not going to discuss the content of our call publicly without the president’s consent,” Mr. Crane said on the site. “But as always the president treated me with the utmost respect, was polite and sincere, and asked a lot of questions to which I gave him straight answers. In the end, President Trump suggested a meeting which I of course accepted.”
“As I’ve told our officers and employees from the beginning, I trust this president and I know he’s going to keep his word and help us drain this swamp,” Mr. Crane continued. “He hasn’t forgotten us. He’s just busy running the country. The fact that he would take time out of his hectic schedule to call me should be proof of that.”
The White House didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
The National ICE Council had asked for meetings with President Barack Obama during the previous administration and had sought to be included in conversations about immigration policy, but say they were shut out.
They chafed as Mr. Obama instead met with illegal immigrant Dreamers and advocacy groups who pushed the president to announce the 2012 DACA deportation amnesty, which Mr. Crane challenged in court on behalf of ICE deportation officers.
Mr. Crane and other deportation officers said they’d hoped Mr. Trump would move quickly to change the guidance from the Obama years.
The new administration’s leaders have announced a phaseout of the 2012 DACA program, and have reversed the Obama administration’s priority system that put more than 80 percent of illegal immigrants out of any substantive danger of deportation.
But the ICE Council says Obama holdovers are still thwarting a full revamp of the agency. The council did not name the holdovers.