President Barack Obama’s changes to the nation’s immigration enforcement policy has morale “in the toilet right now” among Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, the head of a national organization that represents such personnel says.
“Morale is in the toilet right now,” Chris Crane, president of the National ICE Council, told Fox News on Thursday. The group represents about 7,600 officers, agents and other ICE employees. “Most of the guys out in the field are just in an uproar.”
The White House announced in June that the federal government would use “prosecutorial discretion” in allowing younger illegal aliens to stay in the United States and obtain work permits. The administration, however, said the policy does not grant illegals citizenship.
The policy has been criticized as “backdoor amnesty” and closely mirrors the DREAM Act, the controversial measure popular among Hispanics that has been debated in Congress since it was first introduced in 2001 and which died in the Senate last year.
“They call it discretion but it’s not our discretion,” Crane told Fox. “We have no discretion.”
Crane told Fox about a case involving a longtime ICE agent who arrested an illegal alien who was not a “primary target.” The agent’s superiors ordered the 35-year-old man released – even though he did not meet the criteria listed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
The officer would not follow orders and is now facing a three-day suspension, Crane told Fox, and the illegal immigrant – with 10 traffic violations – was released.
An ICE spokesman did not return calls for comment, according to Fox.
“They’ve got their heads down,” Crane told Fox, referring to ICE agents. “We feel like the administration is against us and not the people who are violating our laws.”
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