Morale At ICE In A Nosedive

(REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

Kerry Picket Political Reporter
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Morale at Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is in the gutter, sources tell The Daily Caller. Staffers at ICE find themselves in a politicized culture and are looking for ways to leave the agency for other job opportunities.

“There are people at ICE who are just dying to get out. There are often these openings that you see at USA jobs. For any given job, there might be one position open and you are getting on average four or 500 applicants for that one job and many of those applicants are coming from places like ICE,” one source told TheDC.

Additionally, ICE officers and agents find the mission of their jobs — which is to enforce immigration law — is often counter to the orders given to them when they are told to release criminal illegal aliens into the public.

“They are just so fed up. The organizational culture from where they’ve come from, it has become so politicized. The immigration system is not just broken. It’s dead. A lot of people at ICE are just so fed up,” the source said. “There’s no enforcement, and worse than that when you’re not enforcing you’re being told, ‘Well you basically can’t do the right thing.’ And the right thing being ‘Well, here’s someone who needs to be detained and you’re not being allowed to have this person detained.’”

Sarah Saldaña, the first Latina director of ICE, experienced first hand what amnesty activists expect of ICE agents and officers. The Dallas Morning News reported in May she was bombarded by anti-deportation chants when she told an audience in Dallas, “People who are in the country illegally and who are undocumented and commit crimes in this country — guess who their victims are? The immigrant population, folks.”

She went on to explain, “Three or more misdemeanors are not minor offenses. You might think they are minor. You might think someone can drive drunk three times and be convicted of a DUI and that’s OK. The United States has made a decision that it’s not.”

One activist from Mexico complained that a local pastor was deported as a result of DUI conviction. “This man was honorable,” he said in Spanish, before the crowd broke out in the anti-deportation chant, “If you turn your back on us, we turn our back on you.”

Another source agreed, telling TheDC, “It’s mostly because you have a number of career officers being directed to exercise their discretion. And it kind of goes against the word ‘discretion.’ It’s like saying you have the discretion to arrest someone or not to arrest someone.”

He explained, “But they are being told to exercise it meaning not arrest someone or to let somebody go. And even though they are ‘arrest-able,’ basically, you have a number of people with criminal backgrounds who they are being directed to let go. And quite frankly, with some of the priorities that are coming out, people that would have been arrested in the past they are being told to not arrest them.”

He went on, “what you really have are a bunch of frustrated agents and officers whose job it is to enforce immigration law and they can’t do it right now. Morale is pretty low for a lot of people. Especially out in the field.”

Additionally, ICE employees, according to, rated ICE leadership under both James Dinkins and John Morton’s tenures (2010-2014 and 2009-2013, respectively) among the worst of all the federal agencies. The yearly score employees at ICE give to their employer has been nosediving since 2010.

An intranet blog for employees at ICE received pointed comments in 2014 from staffers when management at ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) posted a blog that asked personnel to “review HSI’s goals and priorities for FY14.”

The first comment beneath the posting remarked, “The FY14 Goals $ Priorities fail to mention anything about ICE’s consistently poor Employee Survey results, particularly, Ice leadership or lack thereof!”

ICE agents and employees in San Diego launched a public protest against their managers back in April. Citing management and corruption cover-ups, the employees demanded the Obama administration investigate and hold accountable San Diego managers at ICE.