U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), a senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, sent a letter last week to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John T. Morton regarding the controversial proposed suspension of an ICE agent for arresting an undocumented entrant believed to pose a public safety threat. The 35 year old man had at least 10 traffic violations.
The man was released by the agency, while the officer awaits suspension.
Text of Sessions’ letter follows:
“Dear Director Morton:
I write to express my serious concern about a recent report regarding the impending suspension of a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent. According to the report, the agent was served with a “Notice of Proposed Suspension” for arresting an individual whom the agent observed entering the vehicle of an alien wanted for criminal activity in Newark, Delaware, and whom the agent later determined to be a 35-year-old illegal alien with ten previous convictions for traffic violations, including driving without a license. According to the report, a memorandum by Assistant Field Office Director David O’Neill states that the agent was told to release the detained alien even though he was in the country illegally. When the agent refused, he was threatened with a three-day suspension. It is my understanding that the acting field director advised the criminal alien that he would be let go because he was not a “presidential priority.”
The actions that it appears were taken by your agency send a message to agents in the field that they will be punished for doing their duty and enforcing the law. Nothing could be more damaging to the rule of law or agent morale. According to a spokesperson for the Newark Police Department, an American stopped on the same charges as the criminal alien would have been put in jail. Federal law enforcement should certainly not be giving illegal aliens more preferential treatment than is afforded American citizens. Your agency’s apparent treatment of the criminal alien sends the troubling message that the demands of public safety are trumped by the desire for reduced deportations of those deemed “not presidential priorities.”
I ask that you provide a detailed account of the events in question, why this alien was released and allowed to continue to pose a threat to public safety, and how and whether ICE intends to discipline agents who enforce federal immigration laws as written consistent with their mission to protect the American people.
Very truly yours,
United States Senator”
Laat week DHS issued a directive that said it will now focus its enforcement resources on the removal of individuals who pose a national security or public safety risk, including undocumented entrants convicted of crimes, violent criminals, felons, and repeat immigration law offenders. According the directive it applies to entrsnts who are not above the age of thirty.
According to the National ICE Council, morale among Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents is at an all-time low as a result of the Obama administration’s changes to the nation’s immigration enforcement policy, according to the head of a national agency representing thousands of agents.
“Morale is in the toilet right now,” said Chris Crane, president of the National ICE Council. “Most of the guys out in the field are just in an uproar.”