Federal immigration enforcement officers who fully supported him on his path to the presidency feel “betrayed” by President Donald Trump.
They’ve created a new website in their efforts to get Trump to realize that he’s left the hostile Obama-era team in place, and it’s thwarting his goal of enforcing immigration law.
In an open letter to Trump posted on the new website, JICReport.com, National ICE Council President Chris Crane said he finds himself regularly having to defend the president to ICE officers who backed Trump during the campaign but now feel “stab[bed] in the back” by the administration.
Crane said he gives Trump the benefit of the doubt but that those around the president — whom he doesn’t name — appear to be trying to shield him from hearing about the continued struggles at ICE.
“While officers view the President’s position on enforcement as courageous, the Trump administration has left all of the Obama managers and leadership in place, a group that ICE Officers know after the last eight years to be completely incompetent, corrupt and anti-enforcement,” Crane wrote.
“While President Trump did create an uptick in morale at ICE through his support of enforcement operations, tensions are on the rise between Trump’s army of Obama holdovers and boots on the ground officers in the field, as behind the scenes Obama holdovers continue to undermine law enforcement operations and wage war against their own law enforcement officers.”
For example, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement supervisors in Philadelphia banned officers from wearing bulletproof vests during an operation in the dangerous “badlands” section in the city’s north for fear of offending the immigrant community. And officers in one Utah city are required to give city officials seven days’ heads-up before arresting anyone. By the time they go to make the arrest, the immigrants they are targeting have been tipped-off and are already gone.
The website was created by the National ICE Council, which represents ICE officers. The Washington Times described it as “part whistleblower and part primal scream for Mr. Trump to pay attention to a group of people who were among his staunchest backers during the presidential campaign.”
“ICE Officers grudgingly admit that the only President they ever endorsed hasn’t kept his word, and many officers now feel betrayed,” the officers say on the website.
During the last administration, ICE officers who signed up to enforce immigration laws were severely restricted on when and how they could carry out their duties.
When the Trump administration took over, officials lifted the restrictions, saying most illegal immigrants could be deported — though they left in place the directive that criminals, national security threats and repeat immigration violators be given top priority.
On Tuesday, Trump nominated Tom Homan — who for nearly 10 months has been acting director of ICE — to hold the job permanently.
The ICE Council’s new site is calling for Homan to clean house of Obama-era holdovers, saying they are still given too much power in decision-making.
“Our own supervisors would rather see the bodies of their own dead officers full of bullet holes than offend an illegal alien,” said Officer Gabriel Cimino, president of the local union chapter in Philadelphia. “This is the absolute madness that our officers in the field are dealing with every day. Will an officer have to die before President Trump helps us restore order to this agency?”
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