The Senate has left key immigration post on ICE

 U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), tasked with protecting America from cross-border crime and illegal immigration, starts another year in a state of flux – thanks to a do-nothing Congress.

Tom Homan served as acting director of ICE for 17 months, but his nomination by President Donald Trump to officially lead the agency was never acted upon by the Senate. Ron Vitiello, former head of Customs and Border Protection (CBP), was nominated to succeed the retiring Homan. But five months on, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hasn’t scheduled a vote on him either.

The ICE Leadership page lists Vitiello as “deputy director and senior official performing the duties of director.” (The page, as well as ICE’s administrative staff, is inactive due to the partial government shutdown caused in part by Congress’s refusal to fund a border wall.)

Meantime, Congress remains open for business (in a manner of speaking), and the Senate still has a constitutional charge to approve or reject the president’s nominees. It has done neither with ICE. Intended or not, such dereliction of duty enables and emboldens “Abolish ICE” extremists.

“As long as our nation has immigration laws, we need an agency to enforce them. Regardless of one’s views on immigration policy, all Americans interested in our government operating effectively should support ICE having a Senate-confirmed director,” says former CBP Commissioner Robert C. Bonner.

ICE was created in 2003 through a merger of the investigative and interior enforcement elements of the former U.S. Customs Service and the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Today, ICE has more than 20,000 law-enforcement and support personnel stationed at more than 400 offices across the country and around the world.

Amid the nation’s serious immigration challenges, the Senate must fulfill its advise-and-consent responsibilities by casting an up or down vote on ICE’s pending director.

“Even the most strident critics of ICE have an interest in the agency having a Senate-confirmed director. An ICE director who has been confirmed by the Senate can better be held accountable for the agency’s policies and performance,” Bonner asserts.

“By contrast, it is more difficult for Congress to conduct effective oversight of ICE or any agency with an acting leader who is uncertain about his or her longer-term status and tenure. Civil servants who loyally and professionally implement the policies of whomever the American people elect as president deserve a permanent Senate-confirmed director,” says Bonner, a confirmed former administrator of the Drug Enforcement Agency and U.S. attorney for the Central District of California.

Aristotle recognized centuries ago that “nature abhors a vacuum.” The same goes for society and its governing institutions. Congress’s political paralysis – not only on the ICE director, but on scores of other administrative and judicial nominations — creates a dysfunctional and potentially dangerous void.

By its dilatory tactics, Congress makes itself worse than irrelevant. America cannot afford inaction on Capitol Hill to hobble the essential work of ICE, which enforces more than 400 federal laws — not just on immigration, but on preventing identify theft, human and narcotics trafficking, money laundering and intellectual property violations.

“No American – even those committed to the most liberal immigration policies – should want these law-enforcement activities [compromised],” Bonner concludes.

If Mr. Vitiello — with more than 30 years of law enforcement service under Democratic and Republican administrations — is an unfit choice to lead ICE, lawmakers can state their case. They’ve been sitting on reams of requisite background reports for months. Do your job: Get on with the hearings and vote.

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  1. avatar

    The Open Border Party (OBP) is Worried About Their Pocketbook Lately

    They get angry/mean when their paychecks don’t arrive in 10 days….about 90% of federal workers are OBP.

  2. avatar

    Richard Pryor used to tell a joke about being caught with another woman by his girlfriend. He would say who you going to believe, me or your lying eyes. Same thing with our media. Trump tweeted a picture of the barrier in front of Obama’s house in Washington. It’s ten feet tall, concrete on the bottom with reinforced steel on the top. The media and left of course insist that you are not really seeing what you clearly see.

    Some are posting pictures of it half built, which is a fraud. Some insist that it has to do with a pool being installed in the back yard but that only requires a lower fence around the pool itself. Same thing with the very tall fence around the Clinton estate in New York. And then there are the constant nitpicking semantics games. Trump has said for a long time his wall does not have to be all concrete in all areas, but all we hear is he has “changed his mind”.

    Another biased performance by Chuck Todd on Sunday’s Meet The Press. The whole show was dedicated to global warming, with no “deniers” allowed because it’s “settled science”. Actually it is not. We are having a very cold fall and winter. The average global temperature has fallen the last two years. According to many previous predictions , including the BBC and Al Gore, the Arctic was supposed to be ice free in the summer by now. In fact, that never happened. The lowest point of summer ice pack was 2012. It has increased every summer since. The only thing “settled” is the bias of our media.

    • avatar
      William R. Morat on

      And while Rome was burning, the emperor was playing his fiddle…in other words, while innocent law abiding citizens are being killed by illegal criminals, sleepy eyes Todd is panicking or having anxiety attacks over climate change. Because of this, we never give Todd the time of day anymore or NBC for what that’s worth.

      • avatar

        Chuck Todd is comical in his attempts to portray himself as unbiased. His “right wing” guests on MTP are generally the same political and media hacks who are nothing but Trump hating neocons. There is a guy named William M. Arkin who has done reporting for NBC for 30 years and just quit with a blast at the network. He says they represent nothing but “anti-Trump hysteria” and the same people whose feet they used to hold to the fire, like the FBI, get nothing but a total pass and that they never question the “perpetual state of war” we find ourselves in now. Just watch the Today show any morning and see how many times it starts with some supposed end of the world news about Trump.

  3. avatar

    Stinkin’ RINO’s, including Mitch the Squish, slow-walking immigration enforcement? I’m totally shocked!