The ICE Agents union responded forcefully to AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka’s assertion Tuesday that “unions did have at one point some differences” but “the entire labor movement is entirely behind” the president’s immigration reform agenda now.
“No President Trumka, there are still differences within the AFL-CIO, and you don’t speak for us,” the ICE union dispatched in a press release this week.
According to the union, an AFL-CIO affiliate — currently suing Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, ICE Director John Morton, and U.S. Customs and Immigration Services Director Mayorkas over the administration’s changes to immigration policy, which they say prevents them from enforcing the law — the ICE Agents union has been barred from AFL-CIO discussions regarding the union’s stance on immigration policy.
They note the administration and lawmakers have also left them out of the policy debate.
Chris Crane, National ICE Council president, which reportedly represents about 7,000 ICE agents, officers and employees called the exclusion of de facto immigration experts under the AFL-CIO’s organizational umbrella “shocking.”
“With most of the nation’s immigration enforcement experts at his fingertips, to include immigration officers, agents and attorneys, Trumka has refused our union input on comprehensive immigration reform,” Crane said.
According to the union, the AFL-CIO is not representing their interests and claimed that the administration has “cut them off.”
“Respectfully, we see a lot of problems with the recently proposed reforms and we plan to exercise our rights as American’s to participate in the democratic process and voice those concerns publicly in the upcoming months; we hope to do so without groups like the AFL-CIO demonizing us for expressing a different opinion,” the union added in their release.
Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, who has worked with the ICE union in calling for adherence to current immigration law, called for Morton to resign Tuesday.
“Given everything we have learned, Director Morton cannot continue in office,” Sessions said. “We cannot make progress on immigration reform as long as the man in charge of enforcing our nation’s immigration laws continues to undermine those very laws and the efforts of his own agents… The federal government is abdicating its responsibility, it’s violating the laws of the United States, [and] it’s punishing officers who try to do their duty.”