WASHINGTON— Protesters descended upon the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) headquarters on Wednesday, accusing the agency’s leadership of mismanaging its employees.
Felix Luciano, an ICE union president in California, accused the federal government of discriminating against veterans, women, people of color, and others.
“We’ve begged ICE leadership to intervene but they refuse to clean up the agency. If you’re a pregnant female, a veteran, a union representative, or a person of color, you’re a target of ICE managers,” he said in a statement.
One of our pregnant agents recently resigned following a miscarriage caused after she was forced to work with detainees known to have contagious diseases. With one life already lost, what more must happen before leaders start doing their jobs?
Luciano claims that there are currently 18 pending discrimination lawsuits filed against the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees ICE.
Chris Crane, the President of the union representing ICE employees, cited the Office of Personnel Management’s annual survey, which shows that ICE workers rank their employer as one of the worst government agencies in terms of morale. “Union and non-union employees agree: ICE is a horrific place to work,” Crane said in a statement.
“Mission readiness falls apart when leadership fails, and morale hits rock bottom. “Discrimination, harassment and retaliation are a part of everyday life for ICE employees. Our managers act more like thugs than public servants entrusted to manage ICE’s critical public safety and national security missions,” Crane added.
The ICE National Union president said his agency even ranks below the Secret Service, which has had its fair share of controversy over the past months. Crane said to expect criminal allegations to be filed against ICE in the coming weeks.
ICE was created in 2003 under the George W. Bush administration. It’s 20,000+ employees are tasked with enforcing laws related to border patrol, customs, trade and immigration.