AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka slammed the lawsuit filed by 10 Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents against the Obama administration over its deferred deportation plan, Thursday.
Led by Chris Crane, president of the National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council — the union representing over 7,000 ICE agents and employees — the agents filed their challenge to the Obama policy in federal court, claiming that it forces them to break their oath to uphold the law. Nine of the 10 are members of the ICE union.
According to Trumka, however, it is the agents who are out of line.
“These agents are working with some of the most anti-immigrant forces in the country, forces that have long sowed division and destruction,” he said in a statement.
Crane explained on Thursday that the suit is based on the legal ramifications of the administration’s plan. And while it is indeed focused on the implications of the policy, there are political connections — Kansas Secretary of State and Mitt Romney adviser Kris Kobach is the lead attorney, and low-immigration group NumbersUSA is backing the effort.
“We have officers who are under threat of losing their jobs and retirement if they refuse to use what we think are unlawful orders,” Crane said, according to the LA Times.
Trumka, who endorsed President Barack Obama in March, blamed conservatives for immigration problems.
“For too long, conservative politicians have failed our people and our country by blocking the creation of a common-sense immigration process. Their inaction prompted President Obama to announce a policy to grant deferred action for DREAMers who were brought here as children — a policy that helps all working men and women.”
The estimated number of undocumented immigrants aged 30 and under who are expected to benefit from the administration’s deferment policy — which would immunize them from deportation and allow them to apply for temporary, renewable work visas — range from 800,000 to over 1.7 million. The unemployment rate is currently 8.3 percent.
“The labor movement is united in calling on Congress to take action and create a common-sense immigration process – one that reflects our values, keeps families together, supports a secure border and creates a roadmap to citizenship,” Trumka concluded.
To the agents involved, however, they say their concern is about the rule of law.
“This lawsuit seeks to prevent law enforcement officer Plaintiffs from being forced to either violate federal law if they comply with the unlawful directive or risk adverse employment action if they disobey the unlawful orders of the DHS secretary,” the suit reads. “This lawsuit also seeks to preserve the balance of legislative and executive powers established by the United States Constitution.”