WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A union representing U.S. immigration and customs brokers urged the Senate on Tuesday to dam affirmation of President Donald Trump’s nominee to move the immigration enforcement company, citing previous racially tinged and controversial feedback.
The Nationwide Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council, which represents greater than 7,000 brokers, endorsed Trump within the 2016 U.S. presidential election. However it opposes the Republican president’s nomination of Ronald Vitiello to move the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) company.
A letter from union President Chris Crane to the highest Republican and Democrat on the Senate Homeland Safety Committee, seen by Reuters, mentioned the nominee “lacks the judgment and professionalism to successfully lead a federal company.”
An ICE consultant couldn’t instantly be reached for remark.
The Senate committee is scheduled to vote on Wednesday on whether or not to approve Vitiello’s nomination and ship it to the total Senate for a affirmation vote.
Vitiello, a former high Customs and Border Safety official, was named as ICE’s performing director in the summertime, shortly after Trump ended a contentious coverage of separating immigrant youngsters from their dad and mom on the border.
Vitiello may face some opposition from Democrats, notably after he refused throughout his affirmation listening to on Nov. 15 to rule out reinstating the kid separation coverage.
“We are going to get much less individuals bringing their youngsters. So it’s an choice,” he mentioned on the time.
Tuesday’s letter marked the primary time the union has overtly opposed the nomination of any presidential appointee. The union broke with its mother or father group, the American Federation of Authorities Staff, when it endorsed Trump in 2016.
Within the letter, Crane cited quite a few issues that ranged from allegations of whistleblower retaliation and mendacity to lawmakers throughout Vitiello’s affirmation course of, to offensive tweets that Vitiello made whereas serving at Customs and Border Safety.
In a single social media publish, Vitiello recommended the Democratic Celebration must be renamed as “NeoKlanist,” a reference to the Ku Klux Klan white supremacist group, and in one other Vitiello in contrast then-candidate Trump to the troublemaking Dennis the Menace newspaper comedian character. On the time he did this, Crane wrote, Vitiello’s Twitter account confirmed him carrying a Border Patrol uniform.
Crane wrote that such feedback violate official codes of conduct on the Division of Homeland Safety and will jeopardize felony instances that go to trial as a result of they could possibly be utilized by the protection to question ICE’s credibility.
“One of these conduct would lead to a rank and file ICE worker being disciplined, if not presumably faraway from employment,” Crane wrote.
“We aren’t conscious that Mr. Vitiello was ever disciplined for his actions and as a substitute of being demoted or fired, if confirmed as ICE Director, he can be promoted to the best place in one of many nation’s largest regulation enforcement companies,” the union president wrote.
Though an ICE official couldn’t instantly be reached for touch upon Tuesday, the division denied lots of Crane’s allegations when he first leveled them in November forward of Vitiello’s affirmation listening to. The nominee informed lawmakers through the listening to that his tweet concerning the Democratic Celebration was a mistake.
“I used to be attempting to make a joke,” Vitiello mentioned on the time, including that he thought he was sending it as a personal direct message on Twitter slightly than publicly on the social media platform, and that he deeply regretted it.
Whether or not the union’s opposition to Vitiello may transfer the needle sufficient to dam him will largely activate how Republicans reply. Republicans maintain 53 Senate seats, and solely a easy majority within the 100-seat chamber is required to approve a nomination.
Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; modifying by Jonathan Oatis