A letter from union President Chris Crane to the top Republican and Democrat on the Senate Homeland Security Committee said Vitiello lacks the judgment and professionalism needed to effectively lead.
The letter cited a number of concerns ranging from allegations of being a whistleblower and lying to lawmakers during his confirmation, to the offensive tweets that he made while serving at Customs and Border Protection.
In a Twitter post, he suggested the Democratic Party should be renamed as “NeoKlanist” a reference to the Ku Klux Klan white supremacist group. In another, he also compared then-candidate Trump to the troublemaking Dennis the Menace newspaper comic character.
Vitiello's comments violate DOH official codes of conduct and could jeopardize criminal cases that go to trial because they could be used by the defense to impeach ICE's credibility.
In response, Vitiello stated that he was trying to make a joke and that message was intended to be sent privately instead of being posted publicly on Twitter.
Whether the union's opposition could successfully block his promotion is unknown. As of Wednesday, February 13, 2019, the Senate Committee has delayed votes on the new ICE director.