Police groups split over attorney general pick


SPLIT RANKS: President Obama, shown at a police memorial, will nominate a successor to Attorney General Eric Holder in the coming days or weeks.

By Kenric Ward | Watchdog.org

A national police group is lobbying President Obama to name the No. 2 man at the Department of Homeland Security to be his new attorney general, but the National Fraternal Order of Police isn’t getting backup from other law-enforcement associations or those who have actually dealt with Alejandro Mayorkas.

“I’m not aware of any other endorsers,” said Bill Johnson, president of the National Association of Police Organizations.

Johnson said NAPO members — especially those in California, Arizona and Texas — have expressed “frustration” over the Obama administration’s handling of border and immigration issues.

As former director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and, now, deputy secretary of DHS, Mayorkas has played a significant role in policymaking and enforcement.

“The DHS is not coming when cops call,” Johnson said in an interview with Watchdog.org. “There’s a general concern about the burden placed on local officers. The job is more dangerous.”

The 240,000-member NAPO is no right-wing outfit. Its most recent presidential endorsements have gone to Democrats. But Johnson said the Obama administration “appears determined to modify (immigration) enforcement policy by edict.”

NFOP Executive Director Jim Pasco said, “Mr. Mayorkas is well thought of in the law-enforcement community.”

Pasco downplayed the federal investigation into Mayorkas’ tenure at USCIS.

“It’s not unusual to have allegations leveled. It’s not unusual that they have no basis in fact,” he told Watchdog.

Unlike NAPO, whose members vote on endorsements at local and national meetings, NFOP’s seven-member executive committee made the call on Mayorkas. That group previously supported Mayorkas to be DHS’ deputy secretary — a presidential nomination Senate Democrats confirmed without a single Republican vote.

State NFOP lodges are bound by Order endorsements. The Virginia lodge didn’t respond to Watchdog’s request for comment.

The National Sheriffs’ Association said it has taken no position.

The Federation for American Immigration Reform said nominating Mayorkas to be attorney general would follow the agenda pursued by the White House and outgoing AG Eric Holder.

“Since 2009, the president has rewritten immigration policy, essentially nullifying countless laws constitutionally enacted by Congress,” FAIR said in a statement. “The president has ignored the constitutional limits of his office, abused his discretionary authority, and eviscerated meaningful enforcement of immigration laws intended to protect the economic, social and national security interests of the American people.”

Kenric Ward is a national reporter for Watchdog.org and chief of the Virginia Bureau. Contact him at kenric@watchdogvirginia.org or at (571) 319-9824. @Kenricward