In an exclusive Q&A with Breitbart News, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Council President Chris Crane provides never-before-heard details about the 2013 Gang of Eight immigration fight that are likely to shake up an already tumultuous presidential race.
ICE Council President, Crane represents the nation’s approximately 5,800 frontline ICE officers, agents and personnel who are responsible for enforcing America’s immigration laws in all 50 states and U.S. territories. For the first time ever, Crane details his behind-the-scenes interactions with Florida Sen. [score]Marco Rubio[/score] (R-FL) as Crane sought to protect the nation’s ICE officers and national security.
Crane was integral to stopping Sen. Rubio’s amnesty plan from passing the House—which, as Sen. [score]Jeff Sessions[/score] (R-AL) recently explained, “was a near-run thing.”
In his responses, Crane addresses an incident—first detailed by Breitbart News— in which Marco Rubio stood idly by as Crane was ejected from a Gang of Eight press conference for trying to ask a question on behalf of law enforcement.
Crane, an active duty ICE officer, has served as an officer for approximately 13 years and has been elected by his peers as the president of their union, as thus their voice on the national stage. Prior to joining ICE, Crane was a United States Marine.
What follows below are the complete, unedited responses of National ICE Council President Chris Crane.
BREITBART NEWS: It is well known that the Gang of Eight reached out to big business groups and amnesty groups in the process of writing the bill. When Sen. Rubio started writing his bill, did he reach out to you and other ICE officers for your ideas and input?
CRANE: Sen. Rubio never reached out to us. He surrounded himself with big business and amnesty groups, most of which were more interested in cheap labor and their own political agendas, and had no real concern for the welfare of immigrants, public safety, or the security of our nation. This while he ignored boots on the ground law enforcement officers who work within our broken immigration system every day and know better than any what’s needed to fix it. Common sense dictates that law enforcement be at the table when creating a bill like this. I think Sen. Rubio knew that, but actively chose to exclude us because of his own personal agenda.
BNN: Did Sen. Rubio meet with you voluntarily or did he have to be pressured into doing so at the last minute? Do you remember how you were ultimately able to secure the meeting? Did it take a long time?
CHRIS CRANE: It was definitely last minute as we met in the evening and they introduced the bill a few hours later that same night. It doesn’t get much more last minute than that. Was he pressured? I definitely think so. Not just by the public, but by some in the media as well. I think appearances on the Greta Van Susteren and Gov. Mike Huckabee shows are what tipped the balance and got us in. I think Gov. Huckabee was especially important in making the meeting happen, he was genuinely concerned that law enforcement was being excluded from the process and reached out to Sen. Rubio on our behalf. Many thanks to him for his attempts to help us.
BNN: What happened in the meeting? Did Sen. Rubio make any promises to you? Did he keep them?
CRANE: To start, even though I had requested to bring someone with me, Sen. Rubio denied the request and demanded that I come alone, which I still believe was highly peculiar and inappropriate.
He, of course, had what appeared to be his entire staff in his office with me. Most of his staff stood behind me as there was no place for them to sit. I raised a series of strong concerns with the bill, and as I raised each issue, Sen. Rubio would look to his staff and ask if that was what the bill said. Each time his staff agreed with my interpretation, and Sen. Rubio would shake his head in disbelief and indicate the bill had to be changed.
Sen. Rubio talked very specifically and very directly to me and his staff saying that the changes I suggested had to be made and specifically said that other Gang of Eight members wouldn’t be happy, but “Oh well.” Obviously the changes I suggested were all serious enforcement related issues, such as establishing a biometric entry-exit system, and cracking down on sex offenders, gang members, violent criminals and other criminal aliens.
When I walked out of his office that night I definitely thought the bill would undergo significant changes, but of course absolutely no changes were made.
BNN: Almost immediately after you met with Sen. Rubio, he introduced bill. Did it include any of the changes you asked for?
CRANE: Not one of the changes we suggested was made to the bill before Sen. Rubio introduced it.
All of his strong statements during our meeting about making the changes we suggested were apparently all just a dodge to get rid of me. It quickly became obvious why he didn’t permit me to take anyone with me to the meeting— he didn’t want any witnesses.
BNN: What happened during the press conference when you tried to ask Sen. Rubio and Chuck Schumer to take a question?
CRANE: I was polite, professional and respectful at all times. I didn’t interrupt anyone or cause a scene. The press was there, but Sen. Rubio and the rest of the Gang of Eight had also filled the large room with amnesty supporters and open borders people to cheer and applaud the Gang of Eight every time they said something. It was a real dog and pony show, sort of a circus.
Read more: Breitbart