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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

The petition includes a reference to an ICE agent who was disciplined  earlier this summer for trying to detain an illegal immigrant shortly after President Obama made his Rose Garden speech introducing the Department of Homeland Security’s new immigration policy.

Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions has been fighting Morton for answers on the incident. In an Aug. 3 letter to Morton demanding more information about the incident, Sessions said reports indicated an ICE agent had been “served with a ‘Notice Proposed Suspension’ for arresting an individual whom the agent observed entering the vehicle of an alien wanted for criminal activity in Newark, Delaware, and whom the agent later determined to be a 35-year-old illegal alien with ten previous convictions for traffic violations, including driving without a license.”

“According to the report, a memorandum by Assistant Field Office Director David O’Neill sates that the agent was told to release the detained alien even though he was in the country illegally,” Sessions continued. “When the agent refused, he was threatened with a three-day suspension. It is my understanding that the acting field director advised the criminal alien that he would be let go because he was not a ‘presidential priority.’”

Crane’s petition website describes the threatened ICE agent as a “military veteran” who’s spent 18 years since in law enforcement. The website adds that if nothing is done to stop the disciplinary action, the agent “will be fired and lose all retirement benefits earned if he attempts to exercise prosecutorial discretion again in the future.”

Crane’s website adds that that agent’s story is hardly an anomaly. “Reports are now emerging of ICE agents using their prosecutorial discretion, but then being punished if they determine an illegal alien should be put in deportation proceedings,” the site reads.

The petition website also describes how more than a year ago, in August 2011, Morton released a memo “to all ICE agents in which he outlined criteria allowing them to use their ‘prosecutorial discretion’ to determine if an illegal alien is eligible to avoid deportation.”

That so-called “Morton Memo,” Crane’s website says, “laid the groundwork for President Obama’s Executive DREAM Amnesty announced earlier this summer allowing certain illegal aliens to remain in the United States and get work permits.”

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