The country’s immigration enforcement officers launched a website Tuesday demanding President Trump do more to clean up their agency, saying he’s left the Obama team in place and it’s stymieing his goal of enforcing the laws on the books.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement supervisors in Philadelphia banned officers from wearing bullet proof vests during an operation in the dangerous “badlands” section in the city’s north, for fear of offending the immigrant community, the new website, jicreport.com, charges.
Meanwhile officers in one Utah city are required to give city officials seven days’ heads-up before arresting anyone — and by the time they go in, the migrants they’re targeting seem to have gotten a heads-up and taken off, the website says.
Compiled by the National ICE Council, which represents ICE officers, the website is part whistleblower and part primal scream for Mr. Trump to pay attention to a group of people who were among his staunchest backers during last year’s campaign.
“ICE Officers grudgingly admit that the only President they ever endorsed hasn’t kept his word, and many officers now feel betrayed,” the officers say on the new website.
ICE Council President Chris Crane, in an open letter to Mr. Trump linked on the new website, says he finds himself regularly having to defend the president to ICE officers who backed Mr. Trump during the campaign but now feel “stab[bed] in the back” by the administration.
Mr. Crane said he gives Mr. Trump the benefit of the doubt, but said those around the president — who he doesn’t name — appear to be trying to shield him from hearing about the continued struggles at ICE.
“While officers view the President’s position on enforcement as courageous, the Trump administration has left all of the Obama managers and leadership in place, a group that ICE Officers know after the last eight years to be completely incompetent, corrupt and anti-enforcement,” Mr. Crane wrote.
“While President Trump did create an uptick in morale at ICE through his support of enforcement operations, tensions are on the rise between Trump’s army of Obama holdovers and boots on the ground officers in the field, as behind the scenes Obama holdovers continue to undermine law enforcement operations and wage war against their own law enforcement officers.”
ICE was among the most embattled agencies in the last administration, with deportation officers saying they signed up to enforce immigration laws, only to have Obama officials put severe restrictions on when and how they could carry out their duties.
More than 80 percent of illegal immigrants were put off limits for deportation under the last administration.
When the Trump administration took over officials lifted the restrictions, saying that most illegal immigrants could once again be deported — though leaving in place the directive that criminals, national security threats and repeat-immigration violators be given top priority.
Numbers for fiscal year 2017 are still pending, so it’s unclear how much of a change the new policy has made.
Mr. Crane, though, said more needs to be done.
The new website invites tips from Homeland Security employees who see malfeasance at the department, or who believe it’s falling short on its mission to protect the country’s borders and interior.
One early posting reports on as many as 500 ICE supervisors who the council says are using official vehicles for their own personal travel, each “gouging American taxpayers for approximately $5,000 annually in free fuel alone,” and on allegations of sexual harassment.
Yet another tip reports on “secret orders” the council says have been given to officers in Utah to alert Park City before they attempt any arrests in the city. The officers say that they have to wait as long as a week before attempting the arrests — and by the time they go after their targets, they appear to have been alerted and fled.
Perhaps the most shocking, though, is the report out of Philadelphia that supervisors told officers to remove their bullet proof vests before attempting to make an arrest in the city.
The vests contain the officers’ markings identifying them as police, so without the vests they had nothing visible to show they were law enforcement. Neighbors ended up calling city police to report the men as intruders.