On May 20, a large union of more than 12,000 federal immigration officers announced its opposition of the new immigration reform bill proposed by the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” senators who authored the legislation. The group represents a large number of employees in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security who specifically deal with immigration. Made up of the National Citizenship and Immigration Services Council and the National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council, the union members would play a large roll in granting citizenship to the more than 11 million immigrants who currently do not have documentation.
According to Kenneth Palinkas, president of the National Citizenship and Immigration Services Council, the union was never included by “Gang of Eight” senators when they were writing the legislation, which he noted did not address public safety concerns and “some of the most serious concerns the USCIS Council has about the current system.”
“The mission of our federal employees is critical to identifying threats and providing for public safety and national security,” said Palinkas in a statement. “We are the very backbone of our nation’s immigration system and will be at the center of implementing any immigration reform.”
Fox News noted that there are three unions representing federal employees that strongly oppose the immigration bill. Earlier this month, the National ICE Council, which includes more than 7,000 agents, sent a letter to Congress criticizing the legislation and said it will not support it.
Palinkas wrote in a statement that the bill would not address an “insurmountable bureaucracy” at the federal agency overseeing immigration documents and argues that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services personnel are “pressured to rubber stamp applications instead of conducting diligent case review and investigation.”
“The culture at USCIS encourages all applications to be approved, discouraging proper investigation into red flags and discouraging the denial of any applications,” Palinkas wrote in the statement.