Fresh off dispatching a letter to the “Gang of Eight” senators requesting a meeting, the head of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents union voiced concern Tuesday that President Barack Obama has not responded to his February request to be part of White House immigration reform meetings.
“We are concerned to see that President Obama is urging Congress to rush immigration legislation when he has still not acknowledged or replied to our letter from 6 weeks ago asking that ICE officers be allowed to meet with the White House to discuss immigration policy,” the National ICE Council President Chris Crane said in a letter.
“We would hope that the nation’s chief executive would be willing to meet with the immigration officers who risk their lives every day to uphold the rule of law,” Crane added, claiming that while activists and business interests have been invited to discuss the future of immigration with the executive, his union has been left out.
Crane noted that the more than 7,000 ICE officers and staff who comprise the AFL-CIO affiliate “understand the nation’s broken immigration system arguably better than any” thanks to their hands-on experience with immigration enforcement.
In recent months Crane and his union have been speaking out against the administration’s recent immigration policy changes, arguing that directives such as the deferred action program forces agents to break the law.
The National ICE Council sued the administration last year over the policy.
Still waiting for a response to his plea that the ICE union be allowed a seat at the White House’s immigration meetings, Crane added that any reform will not work if enforcement falls by the wayside.
“No immigration reform can succeed as long as federal officials can continue to unilaterally select which laws are enforced and which are not,” he continued. “I would therefore reiterate our request for our union, a member of AFL-CIO, to join the White House meetings.”
On Monday, Crane sent another letter to the “Gang of Eight” senators working on a comprehensive immigration reform bill also requesting a seat at the table in their negotiations.