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Union of immigration enforcement officers to oppose Senate bill

A union representing 12,000 U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officers will publicly oppose the Senate Gang of Eight immigration plan Monday, giving critics of the overhaul effort additional political ammunition as they work to defeat legislation working its way through the Senate Judiciary Committee.  

Senator Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., references letters from officials at ICE and the Customs and Immigration Enforcement Association while criticizing proposed U.S. border security under the Gang of Eight's immigration plan.

In a release announcing the group's opposition to the bill, National Citizenship and Immigration Services Council president Kenneth Palinkas writes that the bill would fail to address an "insurmountable bureaucracy" at the federal agency overseeing immigration documents and argues that USCIS personnel are currently "pressured to rubber stamp applications instead of conducting diligent case review and investigation."

"The culture at USCIS encourages all applications to be approved, discouraging proper investigation into red flags and discouraging the denial of any applications," he wrote in the release. 

The union joins the National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council, which represents a majority of the nation's deportation agents and is one of the most vocal opponents of the bill - in its opposition to the Gang of Eight measure. 

National ICE Council president Chris Crane, an outspoken ally of bill opponents like Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, circulated a letter to Congress earlier this month arguing that the bill as written "fails to meet the needs of the law enforcement community" and would harm its public safety and national security objectives.

Palinkas writes in his organization's release that it will join as a signatory of that letter. 

The sweeping Senate legislation would create a Registered Provisional Immigrant status for which qualified undocumented immigrants would be eligible to apply after a series of border security and employment verification criteria are achieved. Critics of the bill say those security benchmarks are not stringent enough to discourage more illegal immigration to the United States.