While race riots tear Baltimore apart due to concerns about local law enforcement, protests against President Barack Obama’s administration’s alleged sexual and racial abuses against Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents are emerging in the San Diego area.
“Ranked dead last in employee morale among 314 federal agencies, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is an agency with deeply rooted problems; problems that agents claim the Obama Administration refuses to address,” a press release published by the local ICE union in the San Diego area, obtained by Breitbart News, reads. “ICE agents and employees in San Diego say that management corruption and cover-ups have to stop, and today they’re putting their careers on the line, publicly protesting the actions of their own managers and demanding change.”
In the press release, AFGE Local 2805 president and ICE agent Felix Luciano is quoted explaining that Obama administration managers have called black employees “Jigaboos” and have also engaged in several other seriously offensive and unseemly actions.
“For our managers to call our African American employees ‘Jigaboos’ in the federal workplace, or to target certain employees with derogatory and offensive terms regarding homosexuality is an outrage,” Luciano said. “ICE managers even stand accused of physically assaulting employees at work – but police are never called in. Any manager conducting themselves in this manner should be immediately escorted off federal property, but that’s not happening. Instead, it’s all covered up, and taxpayers continue to pay these managers to engage in these activities.”
In addition, the press release alleges, a young female ICE agent—due to the ICE managers’ behavior under the Obama administration’s watch—“suffered a miscarriage,” something the release notes came “after San Diego managers who knew she was pregnant repeatedly forced her to work in close proximity to high risk detainees suffering from communicable illnesses.”
“So hurt by the loss of her child, and her treatment at the hands of San Diego managers, the Agent has since resigned,” the release says. “But her husband, still an ICE officer, joins protesters today.”
An official from ICE with knowledge of this particular case and these matters told Breitbart News that this female agent’s official complaint—which was filed through the formal process—is currently pending an outcome. The female agent’s identity is publicly unknown at this time.
The press release notes that Luciano tried to alert newly confirmed ICE director Sarah Saldana about the alleged misconduct, but she ignored the request.
“It’s time for San Diego managers to be properly investigated and held accountable,” Luciano said. “Every American, to include Congress, would be shocked to see what’s happening inside our offices.”
National ICE agent union president Chris Crane is quoted in the release admonishing ICE leadership.
“Our employees are human beings, they are American citizens – they are not punching bags for ICE managers,” Crane said. “If our leadership refuses to take corrective actions, they should expect increased activism by employees.”
ICE’s Western Regionional Communications Director Virginia Kice told Breitbart News that such allegations are taken seriously by the administration. Kice said:
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) management in San Diego is dedicated to working collaboratively with the agency’s employees and union representatives to resolve any job-related grievances at the earliest possible stage. As an agency, ICE is committed to ensuring all its employees are treated with dignity and respect and have access to a fair and productive work environment. With regard to claims about the use of racial slurs in the workplace, ICE holds all of its personnel to the highest standards of professional and ethical conduct. The agency has a zero tolerance policy for any kind of abusive or inappropriate behavior and takes allegations of discriminatory conduct extremely seriously. ICE is proud of its distinction as one of the most ethnically diverse agencies in the Department of Homeland Security and we are committed to safeguarding the civil rights of all ICE stakeholders, including our employees.
The release noted that Crane believes the problems Luciano is exposing in the San Diego ICE office are “epidemic” in the agency nationwide, and similar issues have been publicly exposed over the past several years since President Obama took office. Senior Obama officials have ignored the problems and refused to address them—all while President Obama has been aggressively critical of local law enforcement agencies in places like Baltimore, Ferguson, and Sanford, even though the facts have usually exonerated local law enforcement officials.
Obama said during a press conference alongside Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday:
Since Ferguson in the task force that we have put together, we have seen too many instances of what appears to be police officers interacting with individuals primarily African-American, often poor in ways that raise troubling questions. It comes up it seems like once a week now or once every couple of weeks, so I think it’s understandable why the leaders of civil rights organizations but more importantly moms and dads across the country might start saying this is a crisis. What I’d say is this has been a slow-rolling crisis, this has been going on for a long time. This is not new and we shouldn’t pretend that it’s new. The good news is perhaps there’s some newfound awareness because of social media and video cameras and so forth that there are problems and challenges when it comes to how policing and certain laws are applied in certain communities and we have to pay attention to it and respond.
Obama touted how his law enforcement-community-activist-led “task force,” that was formed in his White House, “has come up with very constructive, concrete proposals that if adopted by local communities and by states and by counties—by law enforcement generally—would make a difference.” Obama said:
It wouldn’t solve every problem, but it’d make a concrete difference in rebuilding trust in making sure that the overwhelming majority of effective, honest and fair law enforcement officers—that they’re able to do their job better, because it will weed out or retrain or put a stop to those handful that may be not doing what they’re supposed to be doing. Now the challenge for us in the federal government is we don’t run these police forces. I can’t federalize every police force in the country and force them to retrain. But what I can do is start working with them collaboratively so that they can begin this process of change themselves. Coming out of the task force that we put together, we’re now working with local communities.
But, according to the ICE agents in Obama’s own federal law enforcement agency, the president can’t even get his own house in order when it comes to race, gender, and other concerns with law enforcement matters. It’s actually been a serious federal law enforcement problem that his administration and its most senior officials have ignored, the ICE agents say, since he was elected president. The release reads:
In 2009, ICE employees in Texas conducted the Agency’s first public protest following a string of abuses against numerous pregnant ICE agents in Texas. In one case a female agent refusing sexual advances from managers was so brutally harassed that the stress affected her developing fetus resulting in permanent deformities to her child. As problems continued, in 2012 the Union met with White House Policy Director Cecilia Munoz. Munoz, however, cut off communication with ICE employees following the meeting and as a result, the abuses continue, and now a child has been lost.
According to the ICE agents’ press release, there are currently 11 discrimination suits filed against the Obama administration’s ICE managers—and “reportedly more in the works”—and they’re calling for the Obama administration and Saldana to take “immediate and aggressive action before it’s too late.”
But an ICE official with knowledge of these matters told Breitbart News that figure is incorrect, and there are only four current complaints in the works right now.
Breitbart News has been in contact with Luciano and is working on getting more details from him about the specifics of each of these allegations.
This all happens as Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday—and in an exchange with Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), brushed off criticism about how agents’ morale Department-wide across all agencies is at historic lows due to behavior like that exposed by Luciano.
“I spend a lot of time myself on the Southern border, with our men and women in uniform in the Border Patrol, because I want to hear directly from them what they say is happening on the Southern border,” Johnson said during questioning from Sessions. “I’m not interested in intermediaries.”
“Well, have you met with Chris Crane, the head of the ICE association?” Sessions asked him.
Johnson replied that he had met with Crane—who’s obviously backing Luciano’s allegations—but maybe just one time.
“At least once, in my headquarters office,” Johnson said when Sessions asked him how many times he met with Crane. “I invited him to come in. And I believe there was probably at least one other time as well.”
When asked if he met with Ken Palinkas, who leads the national union that represents U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officers and staff, Johnson said he had not.
“I don’t recall that name. It’s entirely possible,” Johnson said.
Sessions was furious, saying:
Well these are the top people. And you’ve got the lowest morale in the government in your agency. And the reason is because they know you’re not serious about supporting them in the mission that they’ve been given. They filed a lawsuit against Secretary Napolitano asserting that they’re being required not to follow the law. So look, we’ve got a problem. I’d like to have a nice conversation, but this administration has been systematically seeking not to see the laws enforced. They’re focusing more and more on ameliorating the concerns of people who entered the country illegally than they are on people who come lawfully.