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Immigration and Customs Enforcement union leaders said Thursday that a policy laid out by the agency is a “law enforcement nightmare” developed by the Obama administration to “win votes at the expense of sound and responsible law enforcement policy.”

The union, AFGE National Council 118-ICE, that issued the release “represents approximately 7,600 bargaining unit employees in the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement throughout the continental United States, Puerto Rico, Alaska, Hawaii, Virgin Islands, and Guam, with over 2,300 members.” The union is a member of the American Federation of Government Employees, a national affiliate of the AFL-CIO.

The union press release (.pdf) states:

On June 11, 2010, ICE Union leaders around the nation issued a unanimous no confidence vote in ICE Director John Morton on behalf of ICE officers, agents and employees nationwide citing gross mismanagement within the Agency as well as efforts within ICE to create backdoor amnesty through agency policy. ICE Union leaders say that since the no confidence vote was released problems within the Agency have increased, citing the Director’s latest Discretionary Memo as just one example.

“Any American concerned about immigration needs to brace themselves for what’s coming,” said Chris Crane, President of the National ICE Council which represents approximately 7,000 ICE agents, officers and employees,” this is just one of many new ICE policies in queue aimed at stopping the enforcement of U.S. immigration laws in the United States. Unable to pass its immigration agenda through legislation, the Administration is now implementing it through agency policy.”

The discretionary memo mentioned in the union release was issued last week by ICE director John Morton; it is one among several issued over the past 30 years by federal immigration authorities on how to exercise prosecutorial discretion in dealing with immigration matters.

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