How the Obama administration is preempting federal immigration law

Two days ago, the Washington Times reported that the union that represents rank-and-file field agents at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement unanimously passed a “vote of no confidence” for the agency’s leadership. The National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council of the American Federation of Government Employees, which represents 7,000 ICE agents and employees, stated that ICE has “abandoned” its core mission of protecting the public to support a political agenda favoring amnesty. The vote, by the Union’s Council, was 259-0.
Has this story made it into the mainstream media? Not to my knowledge. My friend Craig Harrison asked me to imagine what would have happened if the EPA union voted unanimously to support a statement that Bush was not enforcing environmental laws. I think we can imagine the reaction if a handful of EPA employees issued such a statement.
The union denounced John Morton, who heads ICE, and Phyllis Coven, assistant director for the agency’s office of detention policy and planning. It stated that the integrity of the agency “as well as the public safety” would be “better provided for in the absence of Director Morton and Assistant Director Coven.”
Among the other points unanimously agreed to are these:

• The majority of ICE’s enforcement and removal officers are prohibited from making street arrests or enforcing U.S. immigration laws outside of the jail setting.
• Hundreds of ICE officers nationwide perform no law enforcement duties whatsoever because of resource mismanagement within the agency.
• ICE detention reforms have transformed into a detention system aimed at providing resortlike living conditions to criminal aliens based on recommendations not from ICE officers and field managers, but from “special-interest groups.”
• The lack of technical expertise and field experience 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 noncriminal 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.
• Senior leadership ignores reports that ICE internal investigations by the office of professional responsibility conceal agency and supervisor misconduct and are used to retaliate against employees who make whistleblower-type disclosures or question inappropriate policies and procedures.

The Obama administration has been touting the fact that deportations of illegal aliens have increased by about 10 percent over what they were under President Bush. But according to the union, illegal immigrants now being held in state and local jails seek out ICE agents for deportation to avoid prosecution, conviction and prison terms. Criminal aliens, it says, “openly brag” that they are taking advantage of a broken immigration system and will be back in the United States within days to commit crimes — while U.S. citizens arrested for the same offenses serve prison sentences.
Under these circumstances, it seems particularly outrageous for the Obama administration to claim that Arizona acted unconstitutionally by passing a law that attempts to enforce federal immigration laws. It is the executive branch of the federal government, not the state of Arizona, that is in serious tension with the immigration laws passed by the United States Congress.

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