Republicans Want Obama to Meet With Border Enforcement Union

Heather Ginsberg

5/24/2013 7:00:00 PM - Heather Ginsberg

The House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte and Senator Jeff Sessions wrote a letter to President Obama this week arguing his administration is shunning the union representing 7,000 immigration and customs officers. The National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council has warned Congress that immigration reform will cause an uptick in illegal immigration.

Now, usually the Obama administration is great with the unions. That’s Obama’s bread and butter, but why is he not responding to this group? Could it have anything to do with the fact that they do not support his stance on immigration reform?

We write today to express concern over the exclusion of immigration and customs enforcement officers and their representatives from the negotiations surrounding immigration reform,” Goodlatte and Sessions wrote in a letter dated May 23.

To be effective any immigration reform bill must heed the warnings from our federal immigration agents,” they wrote. “Unfortunately, far from being included in the process, ICE officers have been shut out and have even had their day-to-day operations handcuffed by [Department of Homeland Security] officials to the point of being unable to carry out their sworn duties.”

The lawmakers pointed out that the union of ICE workers requested a meeting with the administration over 3 months ago and have yet to receive an invitation. They could have provided a firsthand look at immigration policy and its enforcement, but obviously the administration is not interested in actually hearing what they have to say.

Senator Sessions is one of the most outspoken lawmakers against the 800 page immigration reform bill crafted by the so called Gang of Eight. He has tried to put several amendments to the bill and its enforcement provisions, but Democrats defeated them in the Judiciary Committee’s mark-up.

Border-security officers wrote a letter Monday warning Congress the Senate immigration bill would create a surge in illegal entries by failing to secure the nation’s borders before granting provisional legal status to millions of illegal immigrants.

The legislation grants legal status only to illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. before Dec. 31, 2011, but the border-security officers said that would make little difference.

“Cut-off dates established in S. 744 will mean little to those in other countries who are unfamiliar with the 867-page bill,” they wrote. “Without a strategy of border security first, S. 744 will only draw more illegal immigrants into the United States, resulting in unnecessary harm to many.”

There is still a little bit of time before the bill comes to the floor in June. The house is still working on crafting legislation that will work hand in hand with the Senate version. But it is clear that there is one side that is being ignored by the administration. It seems quite out of character for Obama to ignore a union. So it looks like once again certain sides of an argument and different viewpoints are being ignored by our administration.