The leader of a union that represents thousands of Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers told House lawmakers Tuesday that President Obama’s new immigration policy has made it nearly impossible for his agents to do their job.
National ICE Council President Chris Crane testified that morale at his agency is at an all-time low because officers are prohibited from arresting or deporting many of the illegal or undocumented immigrants they catch. Crane said that it is a result of an executive order issued by Obama last year, which instructed the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which has jurisdiction over ICE, to relax deportation laws on illegal immigrants that have otherwise clean records.
Crane revealed that under the policy, immigrants must actually be convicted of three or more misdemeanors before ICE agents are allowed to charge or arrest them for illegal entry or overstaying a visa. Crane said that the roughly 7,600 agents he represents, many of them first or second-generation immigrants, themselves, find this policy extremely frustrating.
In his opening statement to lawmakers on the House Judiciary Committee, Crane said that thousands of immigrants aware of the president’s executive order have been falsely claiming protection from the law, despite the fact that they legally do not qualify. His union, he said, has filed suit against DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano to allow agents to make arrests when appropriate.
Crane also addressed an immigration reform measure being debated in the Senate, saying that he has no confidence that the administration will take seriously any efforts to secure the U.S. border.
Click the video box above to watch highlights of Crane’s testimony.