Amid news that senators working on another border security amendment are about to reach a deal, the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement union has a message for them: The Senate immigration bill will not work without more interior enforcement.
In response to a report earlier this week that Republican Sens. John Hoeven of North Dakota and Bob Corker of Tennessee are working on an amendment with GOP members of the Gang of Eight to strengthen the border security provisions in the Senate immigration bill, National ICE Council president Chris Crane called on the pair to address the union’s interior and public safety concerns.
“According to the National Journal, you are working on an amendment with members of the Gang of Eight to ‘help pass a bill,’” Crane wrote in a letter to Corker and Hoeven Wednesday, referencing a Monday report. “I am concerned that your amendment as outlined in the article not only provides immediate legalization before enforcement but also appears to completely neglect interior enforcement.”
Crane suggested looking to immigration reform packages introduced by South Carolina Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy and Georgia Democratic Rep. John Barrow.
“No reforms to S. 744 will be successful unless interior enforcement concerns are addressed and resolved,” Crane added. “Any plan is doomed to fail that does not empower ICE agents to enforce the laws enacted by Congress — and that does not put an end to the unlawful abuse of prosecutorial discretion by political appointees.”
According to Laura Hertzog, a Corker spokeswoman, the senator agrees.
“Senator Corker agrees that interior enforcement needs to be a part of the solution,” Hertzog emailed The Daily Caller.
Wednesday, the National Journal further reported that Corker, Hoeven, and others’ efforts to reach a border security deal are close to fruition and that Corker told reporters Wednesday not to rely on earlier reports about the amendment.
“It’s a different approach than what was being discussed before,” he said according to the magazine, noting that the Congressional Budget Office’s analysis of the current bill’s enforcement provisions — reducing illegal immigration by just 25 percent — helped to move the discussions along.
Republican Gang of Eight member Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina added, “If we pull it off, it will be the most dramatic effort I’ve seen since I’ve been in Congress to secure the border.”
“It’s a key moment in this effort to pass this bill. This is sort of the defining 24 to 36 hours,” he told National Journal.
Still, others appear less sanguine about the coming amendment, with one GOP congressional aide telling TheDC, “The Gang of Eight is desperate to appear to have fixed its meaningless border security provisions while distracting Americans from all of the other failings in the bill. But folks are on to the game now and will see right through it.”