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[U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents capture undocumented immigrants in west Phoenix, Wednesday May 25, 2011.  (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, Nick Oza) [U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents capture undocumented immigrants in west Phoenix, Wednesday May 25, 2011. (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, Nick Oza)  

ICE union petition hits 75k signatures as Obama immigration policy takes convention stage

Photo of Matthew Boyle
Matthew Boyle
Investigative Reporter

While President Barack Obama has been receiving plenty of praise for his immigration policies at the Democratic National Convention, a petition launched to protest his policy of “prosecutorial discretion” in immigration cases is quickly gaining steam.

The petition, which was launched August 15 by National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council president Chris Crane, has surpassed 75,000 signers despite a noticeable dearth of media attention. According to a release on the AFL-CIO and AFGE-backed ICE agents’ union website, the petition demands that ICE chief John Morton allow agents to pursue immigration cases without fear of suspension.

“This Administration’s ever-expanding policy of ‘prosecutorial discretion’ that allows certain illegal aliens to avoid deportation and even get work permits gives ICE agents the discretion to determine which illegal aliens meet the criteria originally outlined in your August 2011 memo. However, it appears that your policy of ‘prosecutorial discretion’ does not allow for any discretion whatsoever,” reads the petition.

“By threatening your law enforcement officers with suspension for exercising their discretion, you are sending the message that, rather than having discretion to determine who is eligible for amnesty, ICE officers are required to turn a blind eye anytime they encounter any illegal alien who has not been convicted of a specific violent crime, regardless of how dangerous that alien may be.”

Crane says that since the Obama administration decided to allow ICE agents to be able to decide on a case-by-case basis whether to pursue action against an illegal alien, the only choice they’ve really been allowed to make is to release the illegal aliens back into the United States population.

At the Democratic National Convention, however, liberals are rejoicing at Obama’s new administrative orders to stop deportation of select illegal immigrants. Democrats welcomed illegal immigrant Benita Veliz to speak at the DNC on Wednesday, and the party’s platform praises Obama’s move to halt deportations of illegal aliens.

When ICE agents have decided to pursue deportation, arrests, or detention of illegal aliens under the prosecutorial discretion policy, Crane says they’ve been subject to retaliation by the government.