Union for immigration enforcement officers to oppose Senate bill

A union which represents an estimated 12,000 immigration enforcement officers announced Monday it would oppose the Senate’s Gang of Eight immigration reform legislation.

In a statement, National Citizenship and Immigration Services Council (NCISC) President Kenneth Palinkas said the bill would create an “insurmountable bureaucracy” within his agency and argued the legislation would interfere with the independent judgment of officers who were already “pressured to rubber stamp applications instead of conducting diligent case review and investigation.”

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“The culture at USCIS [U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services] encourages all applications to be approved, discouraging proper investigation into red flags and discouraging the denial of any applications,” he said in the statement.

The announcement could embolden opponents of the immigration overhaul during a trying time for the bipartisan group that’s spearheading reform efforts. 

The Senate Judiciary Committee began its markup of the legislation last week, with Republicans in the Gang of Eight siding with the Democratic panel majority to defeat a number of amendments that could have jeopardized the fragile bipartisan compromise.

But fights remain over extending the immigration bill to cover same-sex couples, a move backed by committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and over high-skilled visas opposed by many labor unions. 

The committee will resume marking up the legislation on Monday, and Leahy said he’s hopeful the bill would make it out of committee by the end of the week.