SAN DIEGO, April 28, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- 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.
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.
"It's time for San Diego managers to be properly investigated and held accountable," said Felix Luciano, an ICE agent and President of AFGE Local 2805, which represents ICE employees in San Diego. "Every American, to include Congress, would be shocked to see what's happening inside our offices." Luciano first contacted newly appointed ICE Director Sarah Saldana for assistance. Saldana ignored the request.
But with eleven discrimination suits already filed against San Diego managers, and more reportedly in the works, ICE employees warn that Saldana and other leaders in the Department of Homeland Security must take immediate and aggressive action before it's too late.
"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," said Luciano, "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."
But most troubling for ICE employees protesting today is the story of a young female ICE agent who suffered a miscarriage, this 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. But her husband, still an ICE officer, joins protesters today.
But Chris Crane, President of the AFGE National ICE Council, which represents approximately 7,000 ICE employees nationwide, says the problems are epidemic within ICE. 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.
"Our employees are human beings, they are American citizens – they are not punching bags for ICE managers. If our leadership refuses to take corrective actions, they should expect increased activism by employees," Crane said.
SOURCE AFGE Local 2805