We’re seeing a bit of a strange break in union support for the two candidates this year. For the most part, endorsements don’t mean much any more, being largely predictable and reaching an audience with more than adequate information sources to form their own opinions. The unions, in most cases, endorse and fund the Democrats, but this season has seen a few groups breaking ranks. The first big one was the police union endorsement of Donald Trump and now, in a similar vein, a union of immigration enforcement officials has followed suit. (Reuters)
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump picked up the endorsement on Monday of the union representing 5,000 federal immigration officers, a boost of support for his immigration policy ahead of his first debate with Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Trump has laid out a hardline position on illegal immigration, proposing to build a wall along the U.S. southern border with Mexico and take other steps to crack down on the flow of undocumented people crossing into the United States.
With immigration likely to be discussed at the debate, the National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council, a union representing 5,000 federal immigration officers and law enforcement support staff, announced it would support Trump, in what was described as its first endorsement of a candidate for elected office.
The union’s president, Chris Crane, outlined in a statement why his group is backing Trump, saying his union members are “the last line of defense for American communities” and that his members “are prevented from enforcing the most basic immigration laws.”
Frankly, it would have been far more shocking if NICEC had backed Clinton. It’s not been much of a secret that the men and women working on the front lines of illegal immigration aren’t terribly happy with the White House. Barack Obama’s policies have led to the lowest rates of job satisfaction among ICE officers and the rest of the Department of Homeland Security seen in a generation, and Hillary Clinton has promised to be essentially a third Obama term on this front as with many others. With a chief executive who thwarts the core mission of your agency at every turn, what’s there to be happy about? The officers of ICE may not be entirely convinced about Mr. Trump, but they know what they’ll be getting with Hillary Clinton and it’s obviously worth rolling the dice to try something new.
How important is this in the minds of voters? The most recent polling shows that the economy remains the number one concern for Americans at 32%, but the somewhat generic category of national security and terrorism comes in second at 29%. Nothing else is really close, with only healthcare (16%) making it out of single digits. And when it comes to “national security” as a subject, that rolls in crime, while terrorism is impossible to separate from immigration at this point.
These are Trump’s strongest areas when trying to convince the last of the persuadable voters to come over to his side. One endorsement from this union isn’t going to suddenly shift the herd in any major way, but it may be more of a reflection of where public concerns are focused and who will be trusted to address them.