Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions Tuesday called for the head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to step down. He said on the Senate floor the U.S. Border Patrol agents have been told to look the other way as illegal aliens cross the border into the U.S.
"At the center of this misconduct is John Morton, the director of ICE,” Sessions said. “The evidence that I am about to share with you leads me to the unfortunate conclusion that Mr. Morton can no longer effectively serve at his post, and perhaps more importantly there can be no comprehensive immigration reform as long as he's the person charged with enforcing it."
Meantime, President Barack Obama was outlining his immigration reform plan in Las Vegas, Nevada. His plan includes a four step approach. First, strengthen our borders. Second, crack down on companies hiring undocumented workers. Third, hold undocumented immigrants accountable before earning citizenship; to include paying taxes and a penalty, move to the back of the line, learn English, and pass background checks. And fourth, streamline the legal immigration system for families, workers, and employers.
The Republican senator says the President’s plans to date have not worked and outlined his case against the Obama administration and Morton saying they’ve undermined enforcement of immigration issues.
ICE agents have also filed a lawsuit against the government and Morton. A federal judge ruled Friday the groups can challenge the administrative amnesty policies. The suit says they’ve been directed to not detain most illegal aliens under the threat of disciplinary action, to include being fired. The suit also contends even violent offenders are eligible for automatic release under the non-enforcement policies.
Sessions admits that past immigration policies have not worked, but says this new approach is even worse. “When you take an officer’s ability in the field to distinguish between those types of things, you place the public at risk.”
Sessions provided a time line he says proves the administration is turning a blind eye to the illegal immigration problem and is even pandering to those accused of breaking the law by entering the country illegally.
Sessions included in that outline:
● May 19, 2010: Director Morton tells the Chicago Tribune ICE may not accept illegal aliens transferred to the agency’s custody by Arizona officials.
● May 27, 2010: An ICE email revealed some illegal immigration detainees will be given unlimited visitation privileges, access to unmonitored phone lines, email, and will be entertained with movie nights, bingo, arts and crafts, dance and cooking classes, tutoring, and computer training.
● June 25, 2010: The union representing thousands of ICE agents casts a unanimous vote of “No Confidence” in Morton. The union says Morton has abandoned the Agency’s core mission of enforcing United States immigration laws and enforcing public safety.
● August 2010: ICE circulates draft policy to significantly limit the circumstances under which ICE would take custody of illegal aliens. No longer will ICE pick up an illegal alien for illegally entering the country or with false ID or false immigration documents.
● December 6, 2010: Interviews and internal communications indicate the record number of over 390,000 deportations for FY2010 was padded. A Washington Post article describes how ICE extended a Mexican repatriation program beyond its normal operation dates.
● March 2, 2011: An ICE memorandum from Director Morton outlines new “enforcement priorities,” encouraging immigration agents to not enforce the law against most illegal aliens.
● June 17, 2011: Director Morton issues two more memorandums further directing ICE agents to refrain from enforcing U.S. immigration laws.
● June 27, 2011: ICE memos confirm that after a Houston Chronicle story exposed Department of Homeland Security (DHS) directive to dismiss valid deportation cases, ICE officials tried to deny the directives ever existed.
● October 19, 2011: ICE refuses to act after Washington, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray issues an executive order to prevent capitol police from enforcing U.S. immigration law.
● November 22, 2011: ICE refuses to act after New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg signs a measure ordering all city jails to ignore certain ICE detainers issued to deport illegal aliens from those jails. Now those jails release many illegal aliens back into the community instead of handing them over to ICE for removal.
● December 15, 2011: DHS rescinds Maricopa County, Arizona’s cooperative agreement to train local law enforcement in identifying and apprehending illegal aliens. Morton tells the Maricopa County Attorney that ICE will no longer respond to calls from the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.
● December 29, 2011: ICE creates a 24-hour hotline for illegal aliens detained to talk to the Law Enforcement Support Center. ICE revises its detainer form to say ICE should “consider this request for a detainer operative only upon the subject’s conviction.” This “post-conviction” model ignores the fact that being in the country illegally is a violation of federal law.
● January 19, 2012: ICE attorneys in Denver and Baltimore recommend closing 1,667 removal cases and the aliens are released despite being accused of violating U.S. immigration laws.
● February 7, 2012: ICE announces the creation of the ICE Public Advocate, to serve as a point of contact for aliens in removal proceedings.
● April 25, 2012: ICE officials announce the closure of more than 16,500 illegal alien deportation cases pending background checks in connection with the Administration’s review of 300,000 pending immigration cases.
● April 27, 2012: ICE shifts its policy concerning local officer reports of arrests of those reportedly here illegally. ICE policy is to stop the enforcement of immigration law against illegal aliens apprehended for “minor traffic offenses.”
● June 5, 2012: ICE announces plans to dismiss 20,648 pending deportation cases. More 4,300 of the cases have been processed and will be closed despite pending background checks.
In fact, on the ICE web site it states, "ICE's civil detention system reduces transfers, maximizes access to counsel and visitation, promotes recreation, improves conditions of confinement and ensures quality medical, mental health and dental care. The agency is engaged in making additional reforms in the near future." It goes on to say, “Due to limited resources, ICE must prioritize its enforcement efforts to best protect the security of our communities and the integrity of the immigration system. This includes focusing on criminal aliens, fugitives, and recent border violators.”
Sessions says, “The Administration’s new policies do not provide officers with new options or increased flexibility, but instead order officers not to enforce laws and not to take enforcement actions against specific groups, with officers under threat of losing their jobs if they do so.”