ICE union head calls on Sen. Rubio to leave ‘Gang of Eight’

Font Size:

The president of the union representing Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and staff called on Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio to leave the “Gang of Eight” currently negotiating immigration reform, in a statement issued Friday.

Chris Crane, the head of National ICE Council, slammed the Gang of Eight and the White House for failing to meet with his union of more than 7,000 members and further requested that Florida Sen. Marco Rubio leave the Gang of Eight.

“Senator Rubio was asked during a recent interview that ‘if you don’t get enforcement first, or securing the borders first, is that a deal killer for you?’ And he replied, ‘Absolutely. … Because we will be right back here again,'” Crane said in the statement obtained by The Daily Caller. “But the outline from the Gang of 8 offers legalization, or amnesty, before enforcement is accomplished. Senator Schumer admitted as much: ‘we’ve come to a basic agreement, which is that first, people will be legalized. … Then, we will make sure the border is secure.'”

“I would then respectfully call on Senator Rubio to follow through on his commitment to the American people — and his pledge to accomplish enforcement before legalization — and to leave the Gang of 8,” he said.

Despite Crane’s impressions, Rubio spokesman Alex Conant encourages people wait until they see the legislation.

“The proposal from the eight senators will be the start of the process, and we look forward to hearing proposals from the public and other senators on how it can be improved,” Rubio spokesman Alex Conant told TheDC in an email. “Our hope is that rather than attacking something they haven’t seen, people will give good-faith consideration to the proposal after it’s introduced and suggest ways to improve it.”

“The border security and enforcement measures in our proposal will result in the toughest immigration and border enforcement in US history,” he continued. “There will be tough but achievable hurdles that tie border security directly to the pathway to citizenship, and if these triggers are not part of the legislation, there won’t be a bipartisan deal.”

Crane responds that the White House and the Gang of Eight both refused to meet with his union, which he says indicates a lack of interest in enforcement.

“To me, this demonstrates that the members of the Gang of 8 and the White House have no intention of seriously addressing enforcement issues within their proposed legislation,” he said. “If the President and the Gang of 8 had opened up discussions with law enforcement officers from ICE and other federal agencies charged with enforcing U.S. immigration law, as a country we could have worked together in crafting real legislation aimed at fixing our nation’s broken immigration system once and for all.”

According to Crane, while law enforcement unions were not given a seat at the negotiating table, business and special interests were given ample time with the White House and the Gang of 8, resulting in a likely bill that will contain no promise of enforcement.

“The only precondition to amnesty in the Gang of 8’s outline is for Secretary Napolitano — who is being sued by ICE officers for undermining the law — to submit a ‘plan’ about how she’ll secure the border years after millions of illegal aliens have already been granted amnesty,” he said. “Based on her anti-enforcement record, no American should have any faith that Secretary Napolitano will provide a well intended or effective law enforcement plan. The fact that the Gang of 8 left this enforcement plan up to any person instead of detailing it out themselves through legislation, shows just how little the Gang of 8 understands of what actually must be done in terms of immigration enforcement, public safety and national security.”

Crane further attacked the AFL-CIO, with which his union is affiliated, taking Ana Avendano, the union’s immigration director, to task for comments she made threatening to “steamroller” lawmakers who do not fall in line behind citizenship for the 11 million illegal immigrants in the country.

“As an American, an AFL-CIO member, a law officer, and a veteran, I think it’s a dark day for our country when unions openly threaten the representatives of the people in order stop free and open discussion and stifle our representative form of government through coercion,” Crane said. “I certainly hope that the AFL-CIO reconsiders its position, and allows elected officials to represent the opinions of Americans within their districts without fear of union retribution.”

Follow Caroline on Twitter