Morale among Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents is at an all-time low more than a month after the Obama administration announced major changes to the nation’s immigration enforcement policy, according to the head of a national agency representing thousands of agents.
“Morale is in the toilet right now,” said Chris Crane, president of the National ICE Council. “Most of the guys out in the field are just in an uproar.”
President Obama’s policy allows the federal government to use “prosecutorial discretion” to allow younger illegal immigrants to stay in the country and get work permits. Critics called it backdoor amnesty, but the administration said it stops short of granting illegals citizenship.
“They call it discretion but it’s not our discretion,” Crane told Fox News. “We have no discretion.”
Crane said a case involving a veteran ICE agent is a perfect illustration. The agent arrested an illegal who was not a “primary target.” The agent’s superior officers ordered the illegal released – even though he did not meet the criteria listed by the Dept. of Homeland Security.
The officer refused to follow orders and is now facing a three day suspension. The 35-year-old illegal immigrant with ten traffic violations was released.
He pointed to another case in El Paso where an illegal immigrant injured an ICE agent during an attempted escape. Again, Crane said, because the individual was not a priority target, he was released without any charges being filed.
An ICE spokesman did not return calls for comment.
“They’ve got their heads down,” Crane said, referring to ICE agents. “We feel like the administration is against us and not the people who are violating our laws.”
According to a survey conducted by bestplacestowork.org, ICE is ranked 222 out of 240 with a workplace score of 52.5.
Crane said he is not surprised.
“We can’t do anything anymore under these new guidelines,” he said.