Sen. Jeff Sessions calls for head of ICE's resignation

AL lawmaker sounds off


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," January 29, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We put more boots on the ground on the southern border than at any time in our history. And, today, illegal crossings are down nearly 80 percent from their peak in 2000.


ERIC BOLLING, GUEST HOST: The White House claims border security is better than ever. But is it?

A lawsuit just allowed to move forward claims the administration is ordering border agents to look the other way. In response, Alabama Republican Senator Jeff Sessions, today is calling for the head of ICE, John Morton, to resign.


SEN. JEFF SESSIONS, R - AL: Mr. Morton can no longer effectively serve at this post and perhaps, more importantly, there can be no comprehensive immigration reform as long as he's the person in charge with enforcing it.


BOLLING: That senator with us now.

Thank you for joining us, Senator Sessions.

So tell us a little bit about it. So, is the problem only with Mr. Morton and ICE?

SESSIONS: Well, it's a big part of the enforcement problem.

ICE has the interior enforcement and the ICE officers association has unanimously voted no confidence in his leadership. They say he's hostile to them and their efforts to enforce the law. And as you have indicated, they have actually sued him for interfering with their lawful duty to enforce the law and the court is allowing that suit to go forward.


SESSIONS: He has issued regulation and directive after directive that hampers their ability to enforce the law.

BOLLING: So am I understanding this right? ICE officers, ICE agents want to stop people from coming across and they have been told from the top, from Mr. Morton, look the other way, let them go? Is that the accusation?

SESSIONS: Well, essentially, yes.

ICE fundamentally has authority inside the border, and they have been directed in any number of different directives and proposals from Mr. Morton, including the implementation of the DREAM Act, that was rejected three times by Congress. They just refused to enforce the law. And he ordered that. It's caused quite a morale problem in the ICE agents.

They are very dissatisfied and frustrated. And I don't know see that how we can be confident in any sense that if he were to be in charge of some new law that he would enforce it any better. I think it's time for him to go. And the president needs to create some sense of confidence that his people will follow the law and enforce the law.

BOLLING: Yeah, I think that would be -- go a long way, at least in people's confidence in maybe the president's proposals.

Sir, we would like to read the statement from ICE. It says -- quote -- "ICE remains focused on smart, effective immigration enforcement that prioritizes the removal of criminal aliens, recent border crossers and egregious immigration law violators."

And that's the end of that quote. Sir, do you believe what they are telling us?

SESSIONS: Well, no.

Essentially, they have been constricting the ability of their agents. We have got example after example of being disciplined for trying to -- even people who have assaulted the officers were directed to be released because it violated the president's policies. And that's what they have been told time and again.

And it's a -- really a sore spot here. This...


BOLLING: So, sir, sir, sir, can I -- just let me get this straight.

Is the idea, is the thought here is that the president has a mandate that has trickled down to Mr. Morton, who has now said to his border agents, if you see people coming across the border, unless they are breaking the law, unless they're hurting someone, killing someone, bringing drugs over, look the other way?

SESSIONS: There are two different aspects here.

The Border Patrol has the primary responsibility on the border. It's the ICE agents who have the primary responsibility in the -- inside the interior of the country. And that's where so many problems have occurred.

BOLLING: All right. We are going to leave it there. Senator Jeff Sessions, thank you so much. We got your picture back. We're going to say thank you, though.

SESSIONS: OK. Thank you.

BOLLING: All right.

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