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1 freetoken  Fri, Aug 6, 2010 12:25:22am

This story has been kicked around the anti-immigration community for a while now, but there's less there there than what the anti-immigrant activists want to imply.

First off is clarifying the exact union in question. "National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council" is not the name of an independent union. The "National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council" is claimed by the article linked to be part of the AFL-CIO, but it is not strictly listed under the AFL-CIO list of affiliated unions:
[Link: aflcio.org...]

However, what is listed there is American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), a union for civil servants, which indeed does have a unit which represents some ICE employees:

AFGE National Council 118-ICE represents approximately 7,600 bargaining unit employees in the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement throughout the continental United States, Puerto Rico, Alaska, Hawaii, Virgin Islands, and Guam, with over 2,300 members.

The importance of this will become clearer shortly. First, let's summarize who this unit of AFGE represents: AFGE 118-ICE has as members only about 1/3rd of the ICE employees eligible to join. Furthermore, ICE itself has about 19,000 employees. So the unit in question has as members a small fraction of all ICE employees.

Now comes the really interesting part: AFGE has always lobbied to grow themselves, as unions are wont to do, and in their case this means lobbying for more government employees. And that is the part of the AFGE 118-ICE letter that the right-wingers who keep promoting the letter in question seem to conveniently overlook.

The copy of the letter that is being circulated (PDF):
[Link: www.cis.org...]
has several bullet points, the majority of which are pleas for more government employees, which will mean more union members for AFGE.

This is one of the few times one will find the American right-wing support lobbying for more government employees by government employees, and future union members to boot!

In other words, AFGE 118-ICE is using the current climate of hysteria around immigration to try and bolster their union membership. The letter in question plays upon the fears to which the (R) members of Congress are politically sensitive, thus helping any bill that should get introduced in regards to increasing ICE employment by enticing minority party support.

Note: If one is interested in the immigration policies of the AFL-CIO, one can find them at this link:
[Link: aflcio.org...]
where one can discover quite readily that immigration is a very complex issue for unions in general, for on the one hand unions want to keep wages from being suppressed by cheaper labor, but on the other hand unions often express sympathy for the social situations in which immigrants often find themselves.


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