Chris Crane, president of the National ICE Council, the union representing officers of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, issued a statement Tuesday ahead of President Obama’s State of the Union address. Crane blasted the president for his repeated refusal to meet with ICE officers at the White House, and asked House Republican leaders to consult with ICE personnel as they work to outline their immigration reform “principles”:
According to news accounts, the President has once again invited illegal immigrants to the State of the Union – and yet the President still refuses to meet with ICE officers. We have a President who will provide those illegally in the US with the seat of honor at one of the most important events of the year, but ICE officers who serve under him are unwelcome in the White House. This is symptomatic of the President’s continued demonstration of contempt for immigration officers and his blatant disregard for Congressionally-enacted law. ICE officers are forced every day to release violent offenders back into the streets; we are prohibited from enforcing immigration violations and document fraud and from cracking down on illegal employment; we are prohibited from enforcing public charge law to protect taxpayers; and we are forced to catch-and-release illegal aliens who are not ‘priorities’ even when officers’ believe there is a threat to public safety.
We are pleading with House Republicans to stand up to the Obama Administration’s abuses and to support ICE officers. I am therefore alarmed to read that House Republicans are working with prominent amnesty proponents instead of reaching out and working with ICE officers. Any immigration principles crafted by House Republicans should be crafted in consultation with the ICE personnel who know firsthand what is wrong with our immigration system and how to fix it. House Republicans must work with ICE officers, and investigate the abuses and misconduct at DHS, before moving any legalization bill – otherwise, they are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past. ICE officers do not have the connections, funds or votes that powerful special interests and billionaire CEOs can deliver. We are just 5,000 law officers responsible for enforcing immigration law for tens of millions of visa holders and illegal immigrants in all 50 states and two territories — it is a losing battle that puts American safety at risk. But we hope to have justice and a concern for public safety on our side, and I hope House Republicans will support us in our uphill fight to ensure the constitutional rule of law in America.