In a video published on YouTube Friday, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) argues to his constituents why he and other Senators did not include input from Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in their immigration bill.
Rubio informed his viewers that while he did meet with officials, including ICE agents’ union president Chris Crane, it was for only over one hour the night before the group introduced the legislation.
Responding to a Melbourne, FL, man named Ross who asked the senator why the Gang of Eight has not sought input from ICE agents given their obvious law enforcement expertise, Rubio said: “We did get input from ICE. I actually met with a gentleman named Chris Crane, he’s the president of the union for the ICE agents. We met for about an hour, an hour and a half.”
“[Crane] raises very legitimate points,” Rubio continued. “They actually have not as much to do with the bill as they do with the current administration. His frustration, and the frustration of many ICE agents, is that they’re not being allowed to enforce the law.”
“They are being put under all sorts of constricts and their hands are being tied behind their back,” Rubio explained, “that they can’t do their job to the point where they’re actually afraid to arrest people, they say, and that they’re afraid to put them away because they could get sued or something bad could happen to them. These are valid points that we’ve heard.”
Rubio also said he thinks the immigration reform bill, if passed into law, “is going to make it easier for them to do their job.” He said the bill would “allow ICE agents to focus on the bad guys, on the really bad people who are the ones we should be focused on and deport them.”
“So I think this is going to help them in the long term,” Rubio predicted. “We have taken their input, we continue to seek their input. And I have nothing but the highest respect for the men and women who are on the front lines of trying to enforce our laws even though sometimes the politicians get in the way.”
Rubio did meet with Crane for about an hour the night before the Gang of Eight dropped the bill at 2:25 a.m. However, he cannot point to any changes to the bill itself before it was submitted incorporating Crane’s feedback.
The morning after that meeting, which occurred on a Monday night, Crane wrote to Rubio asking him to delay the rollout of the bill to ensure the concerns he and his ICE agents had with it could be addressed. “As you know, and speaking on behalf of our nation’s ICE agents and officers, I believe there are many crucial measures missing from this legislation that must be resolved before it is introduced,” Crane wrote to Rubio in a letter obtained by Breitbart News. “Based on news reports, it is my understanding that you are filing the bill today.”
Crane then laid out an extensive list of issues he hoped Rubio would address based on their talk:
I hope that can be delayed so that our officers and experts can provide real legislative input on the areas we discussed last night: the lack of ICE resources, how current ICE enforcement practices leave the nation open to tactics used by the 9/11 terrorists, DHS directives that release dangerous criminal aliens back into our communities; the need for biometric exit/entry, the administration’s dangerous abuse of prosecutorial discretion, our inability to make street arrests, the breakdown of enforcement in our jails, the disciplining of officers for doing their jobs – these are only some of the many crucial interior enforcement issues not addressed in this legislation.
Crane added that he believed the bill “would further hamstring the ability of our officers to protect the public,” and the “things that simply must be in this bill to help us protect lives” were just not in the bill.
Despite Crane’s letter, the “Gang of Eight” senators behind the bill submitted it at 2:25 on Wednesday morning anyway.
At a press conference for law enforcement figures from around the country to criticize the bill, Crane criticized Rubio and the rest of the Gang of Eight for not meeting with him until the last minute and not including real law enforcement input into the bill. He also directly disagreed with Rubio’s characterization of how this bill would impact ICE agents’ ability to do their jobs.
“Almost one month ago, we asked for a meeting with the Gang of Eight to discuss law enforcement concerns,” Crane said at the press conference, organized by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL). “They told us they weren’t taking meetings but they were meeting all along with special interests and pro-amnesty groups.”
“Finally, after public pressure grew, I got a late Monday night meeting with Sen. Rubio the day before this almost 1,000-page bill was introduced,” Crane vented. “I raised my many public safety concerns and pleaded with him not to drop the bill until these public safety concerns with law enforcement were addressed.”
Crane bitterly concluded, “They dropped it anyway. This bill will put the public safety at risk without doubt. It fails on interior enforcement. It’s amnesty first, enforcement perhaps never.”
After the press conference, according to The Daily Caller, Crane showed up at the press conference at which the Gang of Eight introduced their bill. He asked the senators if they would take a question from law enforcement. Instead of taking the question, Rubio and the other Gang of Eight senators watched idly and allowed Capitol Hill police to peacefully escort Crane from the press conference. No law enforcement figures publicly endorsed the Gang of Eight bill at that event.
Rubio spokesman Alex Conant told Breitbart News that “Senator Rubio did meet with Mr. Crane, and we welcome his suggestions to improve the bill.”
“Our legislation is not a take-it or leave-it proposition – we welcome input and ideas from Mr. Crane and other law enforcement officials as the Senate works to improve the proposal,” Conant said in an email. “Ultimately, we share Mr. Crane’s frustrations with the current, broken immigration system and his frustrations with the current Administration’s failure to enforce our laws. That is why we’re working to fix the system, and why we want law enforcement’s input.”