Immigration and Customs Enforcement union members are outraged by what’s going on along America’s southern border and they have taken President Donald Trump to task for not fixing the situation.
The National ICE Council, which represents ICE workers, shared a letter on Monday slamming “wasteful and dangerous” immigration policies Trump has not yet curtailed, The Washington Times reported.
“We regretfully write to inform you that in the middle of an immigration crisis on the southern border, you Administration is squandering scarce ICE resources and playing political games with our officers, their mission, and the safety of the American public,” the letter read.
The letter noted that Trump often praises the work of ICE, but union members want more than words.
“To be direct Mr. President — the rhetoric doesn’t match reality and we hope that this letter shows you the complete and total nonsense that is really taking place under the Trump Administration on the southern border,” the letter read.
One of the main points of the letter was the failure to eliminate the so-called “catch and release” policy in which illegal immigrants who are arrested are allowed to go free, often mingling with the population to the point where they will permanently evade capture.
“‘Catch and release’ isn’t just happening, it’s in overdrive. Catch and release must continue as ICE doesn’t have sufficient custody space to hold the massive number of family units illegally entering the United States every day,” the letter said. Disease outbreaks are also now striking the facilities ICE does have.
“The hundreds to thousands apprehended each day by (the Border Patrol) must be released to charitable organizations that facilitate their travel to locations throughout the U.S.,” the letter said.
Full text of letter sent from National ICE Council president Chris Crane to POTUS yesterday regarding the catch-and-release situation at the border pic.twitter.com/qxt3y49eZ3
— Nate Madden (@NateOnTheHill) March 12, 2019
Blame for this situation rests not in the field, but in the halls of power, according to the letter.
“Political games in Washington, D.C., have rendered the United States completely incapable of controlling its southern border. While agencies like ICE and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) cannot control the agendas of political leaders, they have a responsibility to properly manage our resources, under the hand we’ve been dealt, in a manner that best provides for enforcement generally, and first and foremost public safety. That isn’t happening,” the letter read.
The letter, signed by National ICE Council President Chris Crane, said procedures and policies waste resources.
“So ridiculous is the combined DHS, CBP and ICE policy, that Border Patrol Agents and contractors are prohibited from opening the doors of Border Patrol detention vans after transporting immigration detainees to a location for release,” the letter said.
“The Border Patrol transports the detainees for release, but ICE Officers must follow in a separate vehicle for the sole purpose of opening the doors of the van upon reaching the destination so the detainees can exit the vehicle. Hundreds of man hours are wasted each day at a time of crisis on the border when the focus of our leadership should be streamlining efforts and eliminating redundant and unnecessary work.”
The letter said Trump should tell the American people the truth about the policy foul-ups at the border and then fix them.
“You don’t like ‘fake news’ and neither do our officers, so instead let’s provide transparency, tell Americans the truth, and stop this nonsense and these wasteful and dangerous policies now,” the letter said.
The letter came as the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee approved Ronald D. Vitiello, to be ICE’s new director. Trump’s nomination of Vitiello now goes to the Judiciary Committee before a full Senate vote, according to the Washington Examiner.
Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson called the letter’s claims “troubling,” The Washington Times reported.
“We’re going to get to the bottom of this,” he said.
A Department of Homeland Security statement issued in response to the letter cited vast numbers of migrants entering the U.S. and a lack of answers from Congress.
“We have repeatedly sounded the alarm with Congress as resources are being stretched across DHS as agencies work to contain this historic surge,” the department said. “ICE and CBP are fully engaged on a coordinated response and continue to update Congress on the challenges faced by our agents and officers at the border.”
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