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DHS Scraps Last-Minute ICE Contract

February 17, 2021 (1 min read)

Nicole Sganga, Camilo Montoya-Galvez, CBS News, Feb. 16, 2021

"The Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday moved to scrap a contract signed at the tail end of the Trump administration that could have allowed a union of deportation officers to stall the implementation of certain immigration policy changes. The agreement, signed the day before President Biden's inauguration by Ken Cuccinelli, the second-in-command at DHS at the time, gave a union representing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deportation officers the ability to "indefinitely delay" the implementation of agency policies, according to a whistle-blower complaint filed by the Government Accountability Project. The complaint, filed earlier this month, said the contract would effectively grant AFGE National ICE Council 118, a 7,500-member organization that twice endorsed former President Donald Trump, "veto authority" over certain policy-making at ICE. ... A DHS spokesperson said the Chief Human Capital Officer at DHS notified ICE and the union in writing that the agreement had been "disapproved." "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," the DHS spokesperson told CBS News on Tuesday. ... Moving forward, the ICE union could appeal DHS' move to block its agreement with the Federal Labor Relations Authority, challenging the Biden administration to a prolonged legal fight."