Sheriffs, border agents, and immigration officers all made final pitches to stop passage of the Senate immigration bill S.744 scheduled for a vote today.
National Citizenship and Immigration Services Council (USCIS) Pres. Kenneth Palinkas issued a statement urging lawmakers to oppose the Corker-Hoeven substitute immigration bill, warning that passage would threaten public safety:
"The proposal goes out of its way to provide legalization for criminal offenders while making it more difficult for Adjudication Officers to identify threats to the nation's security in our ongoing ware against terrorism. It was deliberately designed to undermine the integrity of our lawful immigration system."
"The amended 1,200-page Corker-Hoeven immigration bill, if passed, will exacerbate USCIS concerns about threats to national security and public safety. It will further expose the USCIS agency as inept with an already proposed massive increase in case flow that the agency is ill prepared to handle."
Likewise, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) union Pres. Chris Crane has released a letter warning of the dangers of the bill:
"Absent drastic improvements to the interior enforcement provisions, there is no doubt that S.744 will undermine the constitutional rule of law, guarantee future illegal immigration, and place the public at risk."
"[I]nstead of cracking down on the Administration's abuse of power, S.744 places unprecedented new restrictions on interior enforcement - making the current situation much worse and more hazardous. It is as if S.744 were explicitly written to handcuff law enforcement officers."
And, sheriffs from around the U.S. gathered today at a media conference at the site of the national sheriff's convention in Charlotte, NC to voice opposition to the bill.
Led by Rockingham County, N.C., Sheriff Sam Page, the sheriffs called on senators to vote against the bill, which they said would dangerously undermine the safety of those they've sworn to protect.
Update: ICE union Pres. Chris Crane issued a statement this afternoon refuting claims that the substitute version of the immigration bill toughens interior enforcement of the border:
"I am deeply disappointed that Senator Corker put out a press release Sunday night claiming he and Senator Hoeven provided tough interior enforcement measures in the Amendment they offered Friday night. Senator Corker already admitted this weekend in an interview with Politico that the Corker-Hoeven Amendment does not provide for interior enforcement - and it most certainly does not.
"Far from tough interior enforcement measures, this bill, now combined with Corker-Hoeven into a single 1,200 page bill, caters to special interest groups and in doing so undermines interior enforcement, law enforcement officers, public safety and the security of the nation. It's time for supporters of this legislation to start accurately describing it publicly."