It looks like unionized Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agents are starting to make some noise against the White House and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka about being shut out of talks involving immigration reform. They expressed concern about how such reform would affect federal agents, specifically those that are in the Border Patrol and work along the United States/Mexico border.
Yahoo News reports,
Unions “did have at one point some differences” on the issue, but “the entire labor movement is entirely behind this now,” Trumka said. “We’ll be at the table the whole time this thing is being developed to make sure it meets the needs of workers.” Once it’s drafted, he continued, “we’ll be pushing this thing [with a] full-fledged campaign” aimed at both public opinion and wary lawmakers.
“We’ll be targeting those in the House or the Senate that either are recalcitrant and don’t want to do anything or aren’t where they need to be," he said.
However, unionized ICE agents say, “No President Trumka, there are still differences within the AFL-CIO, and you don’t speak for us.”
Chris Crane , President of the National ICE Council which represents approximately 7,000 ICE Agents, Officers and employees, said, "It's shocking. The last time I checked, all of the heavy hitters within immigration enforcement to include ICE, the U.S. Border Patrol and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services were all excluded by the AFL-CIO from policy planning and input – and we're all AFL-CIO affiliates. With most of the nation's immigration enforcement experts at his fingertips, to include immigration officers, agents and attorneys, Trumka has refused our union input on comprehensive immigration reform."
In a statement released by the ICE Union they wrote:
Regarding comments made by both Trumka and President Obama on defending workers and their rights, ICE Agents say they won’t be entrusting AFL-CIO President Trumka to speak on their behalf during comprehensive immigration reform talks. Citing a February White House meeting between top Obama advisor Cecilia Munoz and Union Presidents representing approximately 50,000 unionized federal law enforcement officers, ICE Agents state that Trumka simply didn’t come through for their workers in their time of need, and continues to ignore the workplace issues they face.
"We went directly to the Obama administration as well as the AFL-CIO with real matters of life and death for unionized American law enforcement officers and they shunned us," Crane explained, "we're talking about 50,000 AFL-CIO affiliate members. We asked both the AFL-CIO and President Obama for help with corruption within our respective Federal law enforcement agencies, climbing officer suicide rates, assaults against officers, and perhaps most alarming, offenses against pregnant female employees. Following the White House meeting, the Obama Administration cut us off. Cecilia Munoz refuses to correspond with us, and President Trumka hasn't so much as made one public comment fighting for the safety of AFL-CIO federal law enforcement officers. He just doesn't speak on behalf of our union workers."
These ICE agents warned that to disregard them and their input in the matter of creating immigration reform will result in further immigration policies. "Respectfully, we see a lot of problems with the recently proposed reforms and we plan to exercise our rights as American's to participate in the democratic process and voice those concerns publicly in the upcoming months; we hope to do so without groups like the AFL-CIO demonizing us for expressing a different opinion."
One would think on this issue that those on the front lines should be consulted in the matter, but it looks like the guys at the top, those most corrupt in the matter, will be saying that they speak for those they represent, in spite of the disapproval of those same individuals.