Chris Crane, head of the immigration officers union, was pulled out of a Senate press conference today when he tried to question Sen. Chuck Schumer during the televised roll-out of the 844-page immigration rewrite.
While reporters asked questions, Schumer ignored three requests from Crane, who sought to question him about aspects of the far-reaching law, which promises to tighten enforcement of immigration laws at borders, airports and seaports.
“Will you take a question from law enforcement?” Crane asked, repeating the question twice before being removed.
Schumer ignored the question, and repeated his advocacy for the bill. Crane’s union represents agents of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) service.
Schumer and the other Senators have struggled to control the debate about the bill, which was released this week after months of closed-door drafting. Supporters are now trying to win Senate approval of the far-reaching bill by June.
Critics say the bill has many loopholes and flaws that will allow political appointees to minimize enforcement of immigration law.
Crane, who heads the president of the National ICE Council, has been a vocal critic of the bill.
The border patrol, and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, are part of the Department of Homeland Security.
An hour earlier, Crane had slammed the bill during another press conference.
“This bill will put the public safety at risk without doubt,” he said at his conference, which was set up with support from Sen. Jeff Sessions, a leading critic of the immigration rewrite.
The Schumer event was held in the basement of the Senate’s Dirksen office building, and featured leaders of the broad coalition of business, libertarian, ethnic and progressive groups that are backing the immigration deal.
Staff for the eight GOP and Democratic Senators screened attendees at the event, and excluded at least one lobbyist. Reporters were required to show their press passes, which are provided by the Senate.
The pending immigration law would provide an amnesty to at least 11 million illegal immigrants, and expedite the award of green cards to roughly 4.5 million relatives of new immigrants. It would also increase the inflow of blue-collar and professional workers to more than 1 million per year.
Under current law, roughly 700,000 short-term and long-term visa workers center the United States to work.