Yesterday I looked at the new McCain – Coons DACA proposal, which echoes a number of suggestions we’ve heard from President Trump, outlining many clear shortcomings contained in the plan. Shortly after that we heard from a group of people who also see the current discussions as heading in the wrong direction in terms of improving our border security and dealing with illegal immigration. That would be the people at Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). They’ve weighed in on the subject and claim that the plans currently on the table would leave “gaping holes” in our security situation. (Washington Times)
They endorsed President Trump during the campaign, but now the nation’s deportation officers say they oppose his immigration framework, concluding that the proposed amnesty would leave “gaping holes” for a new wave of illegal immigration.
National ICE Council President Chris Crane sent a letter to Mr. Trump on Friday saying the four-point plan the White House proposed coupling legalization for illegal immigrant Dreamers with a border wall and changes to legal immigration falls short, leaving businesses free to continue hiring illegal immigrants and refusing to root out cities and counties serving as sanctuaries.
“We simply cannot in good faith support any legislative effort on immigration that does not include provisions regarding immigration detainers, sanctuary cities and the smuggling and trafficking of children across U.S. borders,” wrote Mr. Crane, whose organization represents 7,500 employees at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the agency that handles deportations and interior enforcement.
Crane had plenty more to say, remaining respectful and constructive, but firm in the belief of his agency that more needs to be done. Two of the biggest items are cracking down on sanctuary cities and enforcement of E-Verify. Currently, the President is saying that those topics will come as part of “phase two” of his immigration reform push, but ICE is clear in their belief that if the job doesn’t get done correctly on the first pass, there won’t be a phase two.
That’s a refreshing bit of honesty in a political debate which has become bogged down in artificial timelines and promises of better things to come sometime down the road. The House GOP seems to be more on the side of ICE in this as well.
House Republicans appear to be of the same mind as Mr. Crane. Conservatives are backing a bill written by Rep. Bob Goodlatte, Virginia Republican and chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, that would crack down on sanctuary cities, impose mandatory E-Verify on businesses, make it a crime to overstay a visitor’s visa and protect communities that cooperate in deportations.
How often have we been told that politicians need to “listen to the experts” when debating major policy changes? That’s been true in the debates over healthcare, infrastructure and data security. Who would know more about fighting illegal immigration and enhancing border security than the men and women who are actually charged with securing the border and deporting illegal aliens?
We need to bring E-Verify back into the conversation at a minimum. It’s not as if we need to spend money to develop some new, complicated system. It’s already in place and ready to go. (Though it’s true that some fine tuning wouldn’t be amiss to close loopholes and reduce incidents of false positives.) What’s missing is a push from Washington to get all the states to make it mandatory. And, as Crane said in his letter, if we hand out amnesty to more than two million people while doing nothing to deter further incursions, we’re just opening the door for another wave of illegal immigration.
The Democrats have something they want and are under pressure to make a deal. Now is the time to act. But it needs to be a deal that gets the job done. Here’s hoping that the President and GOP leadership read this letter from ICE and take it to heart.