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Immigration officers union opposes Trump’s pick to lead key agency

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A union representing U.S. immigration and customs agents urged the Senate on Tuesday to block confirmation of President Donald Trump’s nominee to head the immigration enforcement agency, citing past racially tinged and controversial comments.

The National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council, which represents more than 7,000 agents, endorsed Trump in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. But it opposes the Republican president’s nomination of Ronald Vitiello to head the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency.

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A letter from union President Chris Crane to the top Republican and Democrat on the Senate Homeland Security Committee, seen by Reuters, said the nominee “lacks the judgment and professionalism to effectively lead a federal agency.”

An ICE representative could not immediately be reached for comment.

The Senate committee is scheduled to vote on Wednesday on whether to approve Vitiello’s nomination and send it to the full Senate for a confirmation vote.

Vitiello, a former top Customs and Border Protection official, was named as ICE’s acting director in the summer, shortly after Trump ended a contentious policy of separating immigrant children from their parents at the border.

Vitiello could face some opposition from Democrats, particularly after he refused during his confirmation hearing on Nov. 15 to rule out reinstating the child separation policy.

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“We will get less people bringing their children. So it is an option,” he said at the time.

Tuesday’s letter marked the first time the union has openly opposed the nomination of any presidential appointee. The union broke with its parent organization, the American Federation of Government Employees, when it endorsed Trump in 2016.

In the letter, Crane cited numerous concerns that ranged from allegations of whistleblower retaliation and lying to lawmakers during Vitiello’s confirmation process, to offensive tweets that Vitiello made while serving at Customs and Border Protection.

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In one social media post, Vitiello suggested the Democratic Party should be renamed as “NeoKlanist,” a reference to the Ku Klux Klan white supremacist group, and in another Vitiello compared then-candidate Trump to the troublemaking Dennis the Menace newspaper comic character. At the time he did this, Crane wrote, Vitiello’s Twitter account showed him wearing a Border Patrol uniform.

Crane wrote that such comments violate official codes of conduct at the Department of Homeland Security and could jeopardize criminal cases that go to trial because they could be used by the defense to impeach ICE’s credibility.

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“This type of conduct would result in a rank and file ICE employee being disciplined, if not possibly removed from employment,” Crane wrote.

“We are not aware that Mr. Vitiello was ever disciplined for his actions and instead of being demoted or fired, if confirmed as ICE Director, he will be promoted to the highest position in one of the nation’s largest law enforcement agencies,” the union president wrote.

Although an ICE official could not immediately be reached for comment on Tuesday, the department denied many of Crane’s allegations when he first leveled them in November ahead of Vitiello’s confirmation hearing. The nominee told lawmakers during the hearing that his tweet about the Democratic Party was a mistake.

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“I was trying to make a joke,” Vitiello said at the time, adding that he thought he was sending it as a private direct message on Twitter rather than publicly on the social media platform, and that he deeply regretted it.

Whether the union’s opposition to Vitiello could move the needle enough to block him will largely turn on how Republicans respond. Republicans hold 53 Senate seats, and only a simple majority in the 100-seat chamber is needed to approve a nomination.

Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; editing by Jonathan Oatis


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
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Former acting CIA director explains why Trump’s inaction on Russian bounty scandal will make things worse

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It was revealed nearly two weeks ago that the Russian government is paying a bounty to the Taliban for killing American soldiers.

Since then, President Donald Trump has denied that he and his administration didn't know anything about it. Then he claimed it was a hoax. Now it has become clear that the stories are not only true but that if Trump read his presidential daily briefing in 2019, he would have been aware of the problem.

Speaking to the House Thursday, Trump's former acting CIA director Michael Morell explained that things are being made far worse by the president's denial.

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Here are 7 hilarious videos about wearing COVID-19 masks to send people who won’t wear them

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While late-night shows are off for a Summer break, Americans are glued to TikTok and Twitter for their humor and every folks have delivered.

The latest trend is to mock fools who refuse to wear masks. While many people who refuse to wear a mask tuck their tails and sulk as they walk away, some take it to a whole new level of fury. Those precious souls are being mocked and shamed all around the world.

Here are seven videos that are hilarious or adorable that encourage wearing masks during the COVID-19 pandemic:

Wearing a mask is like wearing a lifejacket.https://twitter.com/mattbooshell/status/1280933495674732544

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Trump tells Fox News the ‘Black Lives Matter’ sign on Fifth Avenue is like he’s being ‘prosecuted’

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President Donald Trump appeared to reveal another quid pro quo during an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity.

MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell pointed it out during an interview with Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA).

"I was very nice to Mayor de Blasio. I got him ventilators when he needed them... I got him the gowns. I got him the masks. I got him everything. Then he throws a big Black Lives Matter sign right down in the middle of Fifth Avenue. I was so good to him and to Gov. Cuomo, like nobody's ever been good. And then all you end up doing out of that place is getting prosecuted."

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