(Newsroom America) -- The head of a national organization representing federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents said morale was "in the toilet" following changes in immigration enforcement policy by the Obama administration last month.
"Morale is in the toilet right now," Chris Crane, president of the National ICE Council, told Todd Starnes of Fox News. "Most of the guys out in the field are just in an uproar."
The major change in the administration's policies allow the federal government to use "prosecutorial discretion" which essentially allows younger illegal immigrants to remain in the country and get work permits. Critics of the change say it amounts to a backdoor amnesty program, but the administration has defended the shift, saying it does not lead to citizenship.
Nevertheless, Starnes said, ICE agents in the field are getting increasingly frustrated with supervisors who they say are ordering some illegal aliens freed because they are not what the administration has described as "primary targets."
In one case, a veteran agent arrested a 35-year-old illegal immigrant who had 10 prior traffic violations, but was told to release him by a supervisor, even though the alien did not meet the criteria put out by the Department of Homeland Security. The agent refused and is now facing a three-day suspension.
In another case, Starnes wrote, an ICE agent was injured in an attempt by an illegal alien to escape custody, but supervisors ordered the alien released without charges anyway.
The administration calls it "discretion but it’s not our discretion," Crane said. "We have no discretion."
Referring to ICE agents, Crane said, "They’ve got their heads down. We feel like the administration is against us and not the people who are violating our laws.
"We can’t do anything anymore under these new guidelines," he said.
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