Linda Greenhouse raised the issue in noting the eagerness of the Border Patrol union to exercise its power.
In an inflammatory statement posted on the Trump campaign’s website, Chris Crane, president of the union, the National ICE Council, complained that under President Obama, “our officers are prevented from enforcing the most basic immigration laws.” The statement went on to say that while Mr. Trump had pledged in a meeting to “support ICE officers, our nation’s laws and our members,” Hillary Clinton’s immigration plan was “total amnesty plus open borders.”
Greenhouse points out that the facts of that statement are wrong, but highlights this point:
…the statement is evidence of how openly these law enforcement officers have been chafing at the bit to do their jobs as they please.
This should remind us that people choose to apply for jobs—they are not drafted into ICE.
And chafing for a long time: back in 2012, Mr. Crane was the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit against the Obama administration’s deferral of deportation for immigrants brought to the United States as children. The claim was that the program put agents in a position of either failing to enforce immigration law as written or suffering reprisals at work for not adhering to the new policy. The plaintiffs were represented by Kris Kobach, the Kansas secretary of state.
We are not surprised at Kobach’s involvement. He has insinuated himself into corridors of power by promising to suppress Those People (your choice of scapegoat).
A federal district judge in Dallas dismissed Mr. Crane’s lawsuit against the deferral program. Mr. Crane also showed his disdain for President Obama by refusing to allow members to participate in a course aimed at training immigration agents in carrying out the Obama administration’s policy that gave priority to deporting high-risk offenders rather than immigrants with clean records and deep roots in the country. Last month, after President Trump issued his immigration orders, Mr. Crane’s union and the union representing Border Patrol officers issued a joint statement declaring that, in case anyone asked, “morale among our agents and officers has increased exponentially” as a result of the president’s promised actions.
These are people who do not care about those in their power, and who resent any suggestion of acting humanely toward their charges. They like their guns, and they especially like the utterly arbitrary power to detain and deport that is denied their sadly hobbled city-police brethren.
This should remind us that many city police would like to be empowered as are ICE and the Border Patrol. While the reflex is to say 85% of city cops are good, 15% are bad (or other percentage split), I feel the majority really would like rather more unsupervised power. The sector we call “good cops” are simply those that follow rules—we assume they are not power-hungry. But I doubt this assumption. My experiences with town and county police is they love to throw their weight around. State police may try for a more FBI-style cool, and offer respect to even the scruffy (as I learned in my youth).
We know that, especially in large cities, the mayor is somewhat of a hostage to his police. We know that Scott Walker and other GOP anti-union crusaders avoid antagonizing the police.
We don’t know the best way to keep police power checked, if the putative superiors, civilian government and the courts, decline to discipline police misbehavior.