“News reports indicate that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Customs and Border Protections (CBP) officers unions, who were actively involved in shaping immigration under former President Trump, are undermining the Biden administration’s immigration policies,” Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) said. The group said that both the ICE and CBP union decisions to endorse for the first time in the 2016 presidential election “did not go unnoticed.”
“The union presidents, Brandon Judd of NBPC and Chris Crane of NIC, apparently had a direct line of communication with Trump that bypassed official reporting channels, which has apparently emboldened the unions under Biden,” the group said.
“In one instance of outsized influence, Judd ‘appeared at a joint press conference with Texas Governor Greg Abbott, at which the governor denounced Biden’s reversal of Trump-era policies and announced that he’d be sending Texas Department of Public Safety officers to the border,’” CREW continued. “This seems to have been a ‘deliberate attempt to undermine the chain of command that runs from rank-and-file agents to the president.’”
Judd has appeared on the NBPC podcast that not only counts the Breitbart rag as a big sponsor, but has recorded in its studio. It’s absolutely no secret that Border Patrol agents love far-right news outlets, extremist groups, and anti-immigrant figures like the former president—in 2015 they worked with Breitbart staffers to arrange a border visit for him. CREW notes the collusion continued far into his presidency, with Cuccinelli signing that agreement with the ICE union just one day before President Joe Biden’s inauguration.
That agreement was eventually rejected by the Biden DHS. “As part of routine process and provided for by statute, the Department conducted a review of the terms of the agreement and determined that it was not negotiated in the interest of DHS and has been disapproved because it is not in accordance with applicable law,” a DHS spokesperson told CBS News. “DHS will make policy decisions in accordance with the law and based on what’s best for national security, public safety, and border security while upholding our nation’s values.”
A whistleblower complaint further accused the very strange Cuccinelli of “’gross mismanagement, gross waste of government funds and abuse of authority’ over the labor agreements,” The New York Times reported last month. Ken has since used his unlawfully appointed position to secure a new gig at the right-wing dumpsite Heritage Foundation.
“CREW has requested records from the union chiefs for CBP and ICE on any communications with Trump, Abbott, Attorney General of Texas Ken Paxton, Congressman Kevin McCarthy, or with Cuccinelli or Robert Law,” the organization said. “CREW also has requested records on any potential or actual agreement between the NBPC and DHS, ICE or CBP. Finally CREW has requested any communications related to any CBP or ICE records destruction schedule.”
“The public deserves a fuller picture of the influence ICE and CBP’s unions have on immigration policy, elected officials and former President Trump, and any attempts to cover their tracks through records destruction,” CREW continued. “On top of reports of ICE’s human rights abuses towards detained people, ICE also attempted to destroy records documenting these abuses, which CREW sued on and halted. ICE and CBP and their unions need to be held accountable for their influence and any intentional sabotaging of Biden’s immigration policies and priorities.”
There’s also no question President Biden needs to clean house at both ICE and CBP. The previous administration’s acting ICE director, Tae Johnson, is still in that position, with the agency having no Senate-confirmed leader since the Obama administration. The American Prospect also recently reported that a viral video purporting to show migrants being crossed through the Rio Grande “has been flagged by activists as deliberately manufactured to present a story of a border crisis, possibly with the participation of the Border Patrol.”
The report said that National Butterfly Center Executive Director Marianna Treviño Wright noted “a video like this is normally only distributed in right-wing media, not mainstream outlets like CNN. ‘They got smarter this time,’ she said. ‘They either duped [CNN correspondent] Ed Lavandera into doing this or he’s so desperate for ratings he went along with it.’”