Donald Trump keeps proving he is unlike any other Republican nominee in the modern era. Case in point: he just picked up an endorsement from a union.
The National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council, the union representing thousands of federal officers in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), formally endorsed Trump Monday according to a statement released by the Trump campaign. While the GOP doesn't normally attract support from unions, this endorsement is not entirely surprising given how Trump has made immigration the trademark issue of his campaign.
"America has been lied to about every aspect of immigration in the United States. We can fix our broken immigration system, and we can do it in a way that honors America’s legacy as a land of immigrants, but Donald Trump is the only candidate who is willing to put politics aside so that we can achieve that goal," the statement on the Trump campaign's website reads in part. "We hereby endorse Donald J. Trump, and urge all Americans, especially the millions of lawful immigrants living within our country, to support Donald J. Trump, and to protect American jobs, wages and lives."
ICE is responsible for enforcing the country's immigration laws throughout the United States, including tracking illegal immigrants and detaining them for deportation. The union represents over 5,000 immigration officers and has never previously endorsed a presidential candidate.
"The men and women of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are the last line of defense for American communities. Our 5,000 officers, underfunded and undermanned, are responsible for enforcing immigration laws in a nation of 320 million people," the statement continued. "The unconstitutional executive orders of President Obama, embraced by Hillary Clinton, have forced our officers to violate their oaths to uphold the law and placed every person living in America at risk."
The union said Trump met with the organization to discuss their goals and concerns. Meanwhile, Clinton was criticized for snubbing the group and supporting liberal immigration policies, including being in favor of the U.S. accepting Syrian refugees. The union claims she is a proponent of sanctuary cities, amnesty and extending Social Security and Medicaid to illegal immigrants. Clinton has vowed to defend Obama's executive orders on immigration and allow undocumented immigrants to buy into the Affordable Healthcare Act.
"Donald Trump reached out to us for a meeting, sat down with me to discuss his goals for enforcement, and pledged to support ICE officers, our nation’s laws and our members. In his immigration policy, he has outlined core policies needed to restore immigration security," The ICE union's statement read. "Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, has promised the most radical immigration agenda proposal in U.S. history. Her radical plan would result in the loss of thousands of innocent American lives, mass victimization and death for many attempting to immigrate to the United States, the total gutting of interior enforcement, the handcuffing of ICE officers, and an uncontrollable flood of illegal immigrants across U.S. borders."
Trump opened his campaign with a promise to curb illegal immigration from Mexico, which he has claimed is a weight on the U.S. economy and is responsible for much of the country's problems with illegal drugs and crime. He has promised to build a massive border wall across the U.S.-Mexico border and to make Mexico pay for it. Many experts have criticized the wall proposal as either redundant or ineffective. Meanwhile, net immigration between the U.S. and Mexico has been close to zero for more than five years.