Over the weekend, lawmakers expressed confidence that a new immigration reform deal could come as soon as this summer. For months, a bi-partisan group of eight senators has been drafting a bill that is said to satisfy most interested parties, including big business and big labor.
However, it appears the measure will be getting some opposition from a union that represents 7,000 immigration enforcement officers and employees. In a conference call this week, the National ICE Council said it opposes any solution that places "amnesty" before enforcement.
The union is referring to a timeline that has been proposed by the group of senators. On Sunday, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. said the new plan will grant millions of undocumented immigrants legal status before the border will be secured. Then, once the border is secured, the immigrants would have the opportunity to seek citizenship.
The head of the National ICE Council said the plan "appears to be legalization or amnesty first, and then enforcement." He continued, "[t]hat's a big problem for us." He also expressed concern that the framework for reform neglects to enhance interior enforcement.
He said the enforcement step, which is the job of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, should be taken care of first or "[t]he only thing that will happen will be that 11 million illegal aliens will be legalized, and 10 to 20 years from now the nation will again be facing the influx of another 10 to 20 million illegal aliens."
The opposition to the proposed framework came days after it was reported that the guest-worker visa issue had been resolved by business leaders and union leaders, which was believed to be the biggest threat facing the reform. In fact, this was the issue that caused immigration reform to fail in 2007.
Source: Fox News, "ICE officer union, construction industry try to put brakes on immigration bill," April 4, 2013