Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., is demanding answers after a report surfaced that a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent is facing punishment for arresting an illegal immigrant.
The unidentified agent could face a three-day suspension after he arrested a 35-year-old illegal immigrant from Mexico who had as many as 10 traffic violations. He was nabbed in Newark, Del.
The agent was ordered by supervisors to release the individual because he was not a “priority target.” When the officer balked, he was threatened with a three-day suspension and the illegal alien was let go.
“The actions that it appears were taken by your agency send a message to agents in the field that they will be punished for doing their duty and enforcing the law,” Sessions wrote in an letter to ICE Director John Morton and obtained exclusively by Fox News.
A spokesperson for the Newark Police Dept. told Fox News that had an American citizen been stopped under the same circumstances – they would have been jailed. Sessions said that is a troubling revelation.
“Federal law enforcement should certainly not be giving illegal aliens more preferential treatment that is afforded American citizens,” Sessions wrote. “Your agency’s apparent treatment of the criminal alien sends the troubling message that the demands of public safety are trumped by the desire for reduced deportations of those deemed ‘not presidential priorities.’”
Sessions is demanding that ICE provide a detailed account of the events involving the agent along with an explanation of why the illegal alien was released and allowed to pose a threat to public safety.
Word of the agent’s pending punishment for simply doing his job has outraged ICE agents.
“They’re punishing law enforcement officers who are just trying to uphold U.S. law,” said Chris Crane, president of the National ICE Council. Crane is a union representative acting on the unidentified officer’s behalf.
The officer under fire is an 18-year law enforcement and military veteran.
“They’re willing to take away their retirement, their job, their ability to support their families in favor of someone who is here illegally and violating our laws,” Crane told Fox News. “Right now (the Obama administration) is standing in the way of us enforcing the law by either taking a disciplinary action, threats of disciplinary action, or refusing to sign off on charging documents to put an illegal alien into immigration proceedings so a judge can sort it out.”
“If a law enforcement officer can’t perform routine enforcement functions, what do we have a law enforcement agency for,” Crane wondered.