By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R) from Alabama sent a letter Friday to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John T. Morton concerning the controversial proposed suspension of an ICE agent for arresting an illegal alien that he believed posed a public safety threat. The agency has since released the apprehended individual and the officer is awaiting disciplining and possible suspension.
Sen. Sessions wrote in his letter to Director Morton, “I write to express my serious concern about a recent report regarding the impending suspension of a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent. According to the report, the agent was served with a “Notice of Proposed Suspension” for arresting an individual whom the agent observed entering the vehicle of an alien wanted for criminal activity in Newark, Delaware, and whom the agent later determined to be a 35-year-old illegal alien with ten previous convictions for traffic violations, including driving without a license.”
Sen. Sessions continued, “According to the report, a memorandum by Assistant Field Office Director David O’Neill states that the agent was told to release the detained alien even though he was in the country illegally. When the agent refused, he was threatened with a three-day suspension. It is my understanding that the acting field director advised the criminal alien that he would be let go because he was not a “presidential priority.””
Sen. Sessions wrote, “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. Nothing could be more damaging to the rule of law or agent morale. According to a spokesperson for the Newark Police Department, an American stopped on the same charges as the criminal alien would have been put in jail. Federal law enforcement should certainly not be giving illegal aliens more preferential treatment than is afforded American citizens. 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.”
Sen. Sessions finished, “I ask that you provide a detailed account of the events in question, why this alien was released and allowed to continue to pose a threat to public safety, and how and whether ICE intends to discipline agents who enforce federal immigration laws as written consistent with their mission to protect the American people.”
The agency’s website said that ICE has arrested more than 4,400 convicted criminals in June and July across the United States. Of those more than 1,900 were considered a Level 1 offender which are the top priority for the federal ICE officers who enforce immigration law. According to the ICE statement, “Level 1 offenders have been criminally convicted of major violent offenses, including murder, rape and the sexual abuse of children.”
Critics of President Obama’s handling of U.S. immigration policy argue that the President has restricted and demoralized ICE and the Border Patrol with restrictions and the recently released policy of not extraditing young illegal aliens.
Senator Jefferson “Jeff” Beauregard Sessions III was elected to the U.S. Senate originally in 1996. Prior to that Sen. Sessions was Alabama’s state Attorney General. Sessions was appointed U.S. District Attorney for Alabama’s Southern District by President Ronald Reagan.