Congress Calls Out Homeland Security for Punishing ICE Workers Who Enforce the Law as Multiple Lawsuits Pileup

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Published on: April 6, 2015

As multiple lawsuits are pending by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents against the Obama administration, Congress has decided to investigate Homeland Security for potential retaliation against immigration agents who enforce the law.

The Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest drafted a letter last week in which they questioned Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson with regard to retaliation against DHS personnel, who are attempting to uphold their oath by enforcing the nation’s immigration laws against the wishes of the usurper-in-chief.

Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), along with all the Republican members on the Subcommittee issued the letter to Johnson recalling that Barack Obama had said at a town hall meeting at Florida International University in Miami on February 25, 2015, “There may be individual [U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)] officials or Border Patrol who aren’t paying attention to our new directives. But they’re going to be answerable to the head of the Department of Homeland Security, because he’s been very clear about what our priorities should be… If somebody is working for ICE and there is a policy and they don’t follow the policy, there are going to be consequences to it.”

They chastised Obama for his statements as ignoring “the plain language of several immigration statutes that command DHS personnel to take certain actions relating to illegal aliens. They also said Obama’s comments “seem to comport with a pattern and practice of threats toward DHS personnel who seek to fulfill their duties under the law,” and that they “illustrate why morale levels among DHS personnel continue to remain near the bottom of all federal entities.”

“Indeed, we are aware of multiple allegations of targeting and retaliation against DHS personnel who refuse to comply with this Administration’s willful disregard of our immigration laws—such as allegations made in lawsuits filed in federal court by an award-winning ICE attorney and by a group of 10 ICE officers and agents,” the letter reads. “President of the National ICE Council Chris Crane has said that agency leadership is ‘punishing law enforcement officers who are just trying to uphold U.S. law,’ and is ‘willing to take away their retirement, their job, their ability to support their families in favor of someone who is here illegally and violating our laws . . . either taking a disciplinary action [or] threat[ening] disciplinary action.'” 

The Subcommittee also reminded Johnson that Vice President of the National Border Patrol Council (Local 3307) Chris Cabrera testified before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee earlier in March.

In that testimony, Cabrera said, “[Border Patrol] agents who repeatedly report groups [of aliens] larger than 20 face retribution. Management will either take them out of the field and assign them to processing detainees at the station or assign them to a fixed position in low volume areas as punishment. Needless to say agents got the message and now stay below this 20 person threshold no matter the actual size of the group.”

The members then requested several pieces of information from DHS:

  • Number of employees disciplined by DHS over last six years
  • Statistics regarding the number of lawsuits or complaints filed by Department personnel, or former Department personnel, against the Department over the last six years relating in any way to the alleged refusal of those employees to follow the Department’s administratively-created enforcement priorities—to include, but not limited to, refusal to exercise prosecutorial discretion in any manner.
  • Any written guidance, or a description of any oral guidance, issued to Department personnel pertaining to the potential discipline of employees who refuse to comply with the Department’s administratively-created enforcement priorities—to include, but not limited to, the refusal to exercise prosecutorial discretion in any manner.
  • Describe the authority upon which DHS will rely to penalize Department personnel for their failure to comply with an unlawful and unconstitutional order.

Of course, the Subcommittee dances around the real issue of what authority DHS has in the first place since they are never mentioned in the Constitution. That is the real issue!

However, Sessions along with Senators David Vitter, David Perdue, Charles Grassley, John Cornyn, Mike Lee, Ted Cruz and Thom Tillis have given Johnson until April 13, 2015 to provide the requested documentation.

The immigration policies of this administration violate the law, not enforce it. Second, to retaliate in any way, which is something this administration has done time and again against those seeking to do the right thing, is nothing more than totalitarianism.

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