Immigration and Customs Enforcement (I.C.E.) Unions Vote Unanimously: “No Confidence” in Agency Leadership

Posted on August 5, 2010


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With a tally of 259-0, the National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council, along with other enforcement unions, voted “no confidence” in both the Director of ICE, John Morton, and  Assistant Director Phyllis Coven.  Their vote was expressed in a letter stating that the agency had become so politicized that it jeopardized the safety of the American people. From the San Francisco Examiner Opinion page:

Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents believe overwhelmingly that their department leadership has become so politicized as to compromise the effectiveness of ICE and the safety of American people. Their union has released a letter announcing its recent unanimous “vote of no confidence” in ICE agency heads, accusing them of “misleading the American public” regarding illegal immigration in order to further a pro-amnesty agenda.

In June, the National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council — an AFL-CIO affiliate — and affiliated local councils cast a unanimous 259-0 vote of no confidence in ICE Director John Morton and Assistant Director Phyllis Coven. In a letter announcing the vote, the National Council criticized the directors for “misguided and reckless initiatives,” and said their leaders have “abandoned the Agency’s core mission of enforcing United States immigration laws and providing for public safety, and have instead directed their attention to campaigning for policies and programs related to amnesty.”

The Center for Immigration Studies has obtained a copy of the letter and offers the following:

Providing numerous facts the media and public have not been privy to, the letter relates ICE leadership dishonesty and failure to abide by their oath to uphold the law. The letter also outlines the importance of local law enforcement referrals to ICE, and the striking symbiotic relationship between local enforcement and ICE on immigration matters. Exemplary are these two bullets:

• The majority of ICE ERO Officers are prohibited from making street arrests or enforcing United States immigration laws outside of the institutional (jail) setting. This has effectively created “amnesty through policy” for anyone illegally in the United States who has not been arrested by another agency for a criminal violation.

• While ICE reports internally that more than 90 percent of ICE detainees are first encountered in jails after they are arrested by local police for criminal charges, ICE senior leadership misrepresents this information publicly in order to portray ICE detainees as being non-criminal in nature to support the Administration’s position on amnesty and relaxed security at ICE detention facilities.

In one uncharacteristic note of sarcasm, the outcome of the Obama Administration new detention policy is described as follows, including dance lessons and hanging plants for criminal aliens in detention facilities:

• ICE Detention Reforms have transformed into a detention system aimed at providing resort like living conditions to criminal aliens. Senior ICE leadership excluded ICE officers and field managers (the technical experts on ICE detention) from the development of these reforms, and instead solicited recommendations from special interest groups. The lack of technical expertise and field expertise has resulted in a priority of providing bingo nights, dance lessons and hanging plants to criminals, instead of addressing safe and responsible detention reforms for non-criminal individuals and families. Unlike any other agency in the nation, ICE officers will be prevented from searching detainees housed in ICE facilities allowing weapons, drugs and other contraband into detention centers putting detainees, ICE officers and contract guards at risk.

Here, from an inside view, we see the Obama administration’s politics on illegal immigration laid bare.  And, after the administration’s relentless media attack on Arizona and the subsequent lawsuit against the state, it really should be of no surprise.

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