Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) union president Chris Crane’s request to meet with the bipartisan group of eight senators developing a comprehensive immigration reform bill was denied.
“Since the Gang of 8 has not met with anybody else, they did not agree to meet with the ICE union president,” Juan Pachado, a spokesman for Sen. Bob Menendez,D-N.J., told The Washington Examiner in an email.
ICE union president Chris Crane requested the meeting last week. “Any comprehensive immigration bill would have enormous consequences for our officers and for the citizens we protect,” Crane, who has testified before congressional panels on the issue, wrote in the letter. “Fundamentally, I would implore you to consider this issue from the perspective of our officers who risk their lives every day in a constant uphill climb to uphold the laws of the land.”
The gang of eight has accepted input from some key groups. “Business and labor have an agreement and on the future flow, which has been the issue that has undone immigration reform in the past,” Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said on Meet the Press Sunday, referring to a reported deal between the AFL-CIO and the Chamber of Commerce. “So this is a major, major obstacle that’s overcome. Each of us has to look at the language and approve it. But I don’t think on the business labor side, there’s any disagreement.”
The ICE union is an AFL-CIO affiliate, but Crane said earlier this year that AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka has ignored his union’s concerns on this issue.
“If anyone should be consulted on reform, it should be the officers on the front lines,” said Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., in a statement to The Examiner. “We saw the same thing the last time around – the men and women who actually know what will work are left out of the process. Why should Trumka and the Chamber be consulted but not law enforcement?”
Crane said his union was concerned about political appointees dictating how ICE officers enforcee immigration laws. “No reforms to our immigration system will succeed as long as federal officials can continue to unilaterally select which laws are to be enforced — and which are not — based on their own political agendas,” he wrote.