Immigration and Customs Enforcement union president Chris Crane told reporters on Wednesday that the Mexican drug cartels’ influence inside the United States has been “almost completely absent” from the immigration reform debate but needs more attention.
“I mean, if these folks coming over here taking work, we know that the drug cartels’ troops and the soldiers are all within the interior of the United States as are many other criminal elements and criminal individuals,” Crane said on a conference call with media. “There are people coming here for this to be a land of opportunity and there are people coming here because this is a target of opportunity. We believe there is a very disproportionate number of criminals coming into the United States.”
Crane also said that “the majority of people we encounter are in possession of fraudulent documents, documents such as fake Social Security cards with real U.S. citizens’ Social Security numbers on them.”
“They have fake permanent resident cards,” Crane continued. “They are involved in identity theft, which in most cases is almost definitely a state felony and definitely a violation of U.S. immigration law. But, as the agency designated to enforce these laws – ICE – we are prohibited from enforcing them. As you can imagine, we literally stack these frauds up like baseball cards. Phony Social Security cards, phony permanent resident cards – we just stack them like baseball cards. But, as officers, we are prohibited from doing anything about it.”
Crane said this administration’s political leadership, including President Barack Obama, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and ICE director John Morton have hamstrung law enforcement agents from being able to do their jobs, and have made it impossible for ICE agents to enforce existing immigration law.
Crane points to New York Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer’s remarks on this Sunday’s Meet The Press as problematic. “So look, we’ve come to a basic agreement, which is that first, people will be legalized,” Schumer said. “In other words, not citizens, but they’ll be allowed to work, come out of the shadows, travel. Then, we will make sure the border is secure.”
Crane said that if what Schumer said the so-called bipartisan “Gang of Eight” is doing—amnesty first, law enforcement second—happens, then that proves this is all about politics on the part of those pushing it rather than about actually reaching solutions.
“The plan of the Gang of Eight appears to be legalization, or amnesty, first, and then enforcement,” Crane said. “That’s a big problem for us. Additionally, please note that there is no mention by Senator Schumer in his statement or within the president’s immigration plan or within the bipartisan framework for stronger interior enforcement. We fully support stronger border enforcement but we know – we know – that much stronger interior enforcement is needed but continues to be ignored by the president and others because this is more about amnesty or legalization than truly addressing illegal immigration and ending it.”
Crane pointed out that border security is only a part of any law enforcement solution that should be included in any immigration reform package. The Border Patrol enforces the law at the border, but ICE is supposed to enforce immigration law throughout the interior of the U.S., he said, but no current plans being proposed address that issue. Crane said that, without a comprehensive enforcement solution that will include allowing ICE agents to enforce current law, immigration problems will not ever be solved.
“If we don’t take care of the enforcement part of this first, it will never happen,” Crane said. “The only thing that will happen is that 11 million illegal aliens will be legalized and 10 to 20 years from now, the nation will again be facing the influx of another 10 to 20 illegal aliens and all the problems and extents associated with that. We will be right back to where we are right now with a failed immigration system.”