From Washington Times
Customs and Border Protection Commission R. Gil Kerlikowske told Border Patrol agents who object to President Obama’s amnesty policies that it’s time to “look for another job,” saying Tuesday that agents have to follow the orders of their superiors.
Mr. Kerlikowske was objecting to testimony last month from the Border Patrol labor union chief, who said under Mr. Obama agents have been told to restore the discredited “catch-and-release” policy from a decade ago.
The commissioner disputed that, saying every illegal immigrant over the age of 14 who is encountered by agents is supposed to be fingerprinted, interviewed and put through the usual process, including being turned over to Immigration and Customs enforcement for decisions on deportation.
“We don’t need and don’t want — and I would not stand by if the Border Patrol was — releasing people without going through all of the formalities,” Mr. Kerlikowske testified to the House Appropriations Committee.
Mr. Kerlikowske also questioned the veracity of the labor union, the National Border Patrol Council, and its president Brandon Judd, saying the NBPC was “probably not the most knowledgeable organization about what’s actually going on.”
Last month Mr. Judd testified that his agents have been told not to bother arresting illegal immigrants, meaning the migrants never get into the criminal justice system, and the administration’s numbers don’t look so bad.
Mr. Judd said the releases are part of President Obama’s “priorities” program, which orders agents to worry chiefly about criminals, national security risks and illegal immigrants who came into the U.S. after Jan. 1, 2014. Mr. Judd said illegal immigrants without serious criminal convictions have learned that by claiming they came before 2014 — without even needing to show proof — they can be released immediately.
Mr. Kerlikowske, though, said Mr. Judd and fellow agents who object to Mr. Obama’s policies should be ushered out.
“Well if you really don’t want to follow the directions of your superiors, including the president of the United States and the commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, then you really do need to look for another job,” he said.
Shawn Moran, vice president of the NBPC, took “great offense” to the commissioner’s remarks.
“When it comes to catch and release, Border Patrol agents are the only ones following the law. The commissioner can dress it up any way he likes, but even though we are documenting people, they are being released into American society, never to be seen again,” Mr. Moran said.
He said the NBPC is directly in touch with line agents in the field, and said Mr. Kerlikowske gets his information filtered by layers of “yes men” at headquarters. Mr. Moran said agents do follow orders, even when they disagree with them, but have the right to speak out against them as well, and said the series of policies is taking a toll on the agency.
“This is part of the administration’s strategy to demoralize and disrupt agents and completely dismantle immigration enforcement,” he said. “They’re going to make the job so unbearable because they know they have a very motivated workforce, a very patriotic workforce that wants to uphold the laws, yet we have the president of the United States and the commissioner of Customs and Border Protection directly going against the rule of law.”
Mr. Kerlikowske even appeared to acknowledge problems with the demoralized workforce.
Just minutes before he told agents to quit, he had told the committee that he’s having trouble filling the number of slots Congress has funded.
“We are not able to hire as fast as attrition,” he said, calling it “very concerning.”