The National ICE Council has announced its opposition to the Ryan Amnesty plan that the House is scheduled to vote on later this week. ICE Union President Chris Crane wrote that if the Ryan Amnesty passed, "it will have significant negative consequences for public safety and interior enforcement in general."
Crane also expressed disappointment that House Republicans didn't consult with Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers during the drafting of the legislation, the same way that the Gang of 8 didn't consult with ICE officers.
Here is the full text of the letter sent by the ICE officers:
It is my understanding that neither of the immigration bills currently being considered by Congress include staffing increases for ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO), while again increasing Border Patrol and CBP staff by 5000 officers each.
The Administration and Republican members of Congress are fully aware of the dire need for staffing increases within ERO. So keenly aware of the need for additional ERO officers, one of your first actions as our newly elected President was to sign an executive order authorizing 10,000 more ICE ERO officers. So keenly aware of the dire need for additional ERO officers, prominent Republican Congressmen like Bob Goodlatte, Trey Gowdy, Raul Labrador, Lamar Smith, John Carter and others previously pushed for thousands of additional staff at ICE ERO through proposed bills like the Davis-Oliver Act.
Previous legislation by House Republicans that would have increased staffing at ICE is an absolute admission that House Republicans are well aware of staffing shortages at ICE, and likewise are aware of the risk to public safety posed by failing to include legislative staffing increases at ICE in current legislation. After spending years fighting for staffing increases at ICE in the name of public safety, House Republicans have suddenly abandoned their positions and instead now fight to keep ICE dangerously understaffed. In keeping with the infamous "Gang of 8" amnesty bill, boots on the ground law enforcement officers were excluded by Republicans from having input on both new bills. The same House Republicans who condemned the Gang of 8 and Obama Administration for not including our input, have now done the exact same thing.
For any person to ever suggest to the American people that border security can be achieved without strong and effective interior enforcement would be false. In fact, the repeated failures of Congress to increase interior enforcement since 9/11, is the primary reason why border control efforts continue to fail. The current reality for any person coming to the U.S. illegally is that once in the U.S. you are free to live, work and even commit crimes without any real threat of deportation, as confirmed by the staggering 12 million people currently living illegally in the U.S., millions of whom are estimated to be criminal aliens. While measures such as additional Border Patrol Agents and CBP Officers play an important role, neither will ever stop illegal immigration into the U.S. without increased interior enforcement efforts - especially as approximately half of the 12 million illegally in the U.S. didn't cross our borders illegally, but rather entered legally with temporary visas and never left.
Our nation and its residents remain at increased risk as our congressional leadership fails to learn the lessons that 9/11 should have taught us. 100,000 more Border Patrol Agents and CBP Officers would not have stopped the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks who entered our country legally on visas, but an appropriate level of ICE ERO Officers may have. By failing to increase and modernize interior enforcement efforts, Congress leaves the nation dangerously exposed to an ever-growing terrorist threat. For Congress to include legislative provisions aimed at making the country safer, without providing the law enforcement officers and staff to enforce them, in reality simply adds to the long list of laws already in place that simply won't be enforced due to lack of personnel and resources.
ICE ERO currently has less than 5,000 officers - less than some municipal police forces - to police approximately 40 million legal and illegal aliens spread across 50 states, Guam, Puerto Rico, Saipan and the U.S. Virgin Islands. As noted above, almost half of the 12 million illegal aliens currently living in the United States entered our country legally with visas and failed to depart once their visas expired, meaning increased staffing at the Border Patrol and CBP won't stop it. No group within DHS is more understaffed and outmanned, yet neither of the bills being considered in the House this week provide even one new officer or staff member at ICE. Americans who support stronger immigration enforcement, stronger border security, and safer communities, must begin questioning the political motives behind these actions.
We are seriously concerned with many provisions of the Ryan compromise bill and predict that if passed it will have significant negative consequences for public safety and interior enforcement in general. As with the Obama Administration's DACA policy, the Ryan compromise bill appears to recklessly permit widespread protection of millions of illegal aliens who will not even qualify for the amnesty. As with the Obama DACA, this will include tens of thousands of criminal aliens in jails who make false claims to amnesty resulting in their release back into U.S. communities. The bill allows aliens to apply for amnesty who have been convicted of alien smuggling and many other serious crimes and appears to ignore criminal charges against aliens that have not yet been adjudicated. Perhaps most shocking, it allows amnesty for aliens already ordered removed from the U.S. by a federal immigration judge, but who have thumbed their nose at U.S. law and refused to leave. Widespread exceptions for criminals, alien smugglers, and fugitives from the law, are not the fixes needed to our broken immigration system, and neither is a system that allows for large scale fraud.
As you meet with Republicans today, we hope and ask that you stand behind your commitments to our officers to restore the rule of law, create sensible and effective new laws, and increase staffing at ICE. This is the one and only chance to make these important changes. If the Ryan amnesty is passed, there will be no further meaningful immigration legislation passed by Congress. You pledged publicly to "have the backs" of the men and women of ICE law enforcement. I am asking you to keep that promise. We stand ready to work with you and your staff, as well as House Republicans to make these bills more effective for the American people.
Updated: Tue, Jul 3rd 2018 @ 1:45pm EDT