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Immigration And Customs Enforcement (ICE) Voted One Of The Worst Places To Work In Federal Government

John Morton

First Posted: 02/24/2012 4:18 pm Updated: 02/26/2012 10:33 am

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, also known as ICE, often gets a bad rap from the media for their treatment of immigrants and this year's record-setting deportation numbers. But now, it looks like they're getting a bad rap from their 20,000+ employees as well.

According to a recent study surveying employees of all federal government agencies, ICE ranked 222nd of 240 government agencies in overall employee satisfaction. The agency received an overall score of 52.5 out of 100 from the study conducted by the Partnership for Public Service. The agency's employee satisfaction rating from 2011 was 3.9 points lower than the year prior.

But it seems it wasn't a great year in general for the Departmnent of Homeland Security (DHS), ICE's mother agency. Four other of DHS's sub-agencies actually fell below ICE's dismal ranking on the same employee satisfaction survey.

The heart of employee dissatisfaction with ICE fell under the categories of "Effective Leaders", ranking 220 out of 229 agencies measured, and "Family Friendly Culture and Benefits", ranking 223rd out of 228.

Right wing columnist Debbie Schlussel faults President Obama and Director of ICE John Morton for the ranking.

Schlussel writes on her personal blog that, "After Barack Obama and his administration constantly attacking ICE agents and stopping them from doing their jobs ... I’m actually surprised the agency was as high as 222nd and not dead last."

A.J. Irwin, a retired border patrol agent of Latino descent, patrolled the border in New Mexico for more than 20 years. He says working for ICE was very hard at times, and that it even led him to change his stance on the border and immigration enforcement system.

In an interview with The Huffington Post, Irwin said that empathy for those who cross the border has led him to advocate for alternatives to forced deportations. He claims to have convinced judges to spare many immigrants from deportation, even flouting his chain of command in order to do so.

After President Obama deported more undocumented immigrants than any President before him, Irwin concluded that the tenets of compassion, common sense and discretion should be at the core of a healthy immigration policy.

"The small percentage of the aliens who illegally enter the country or enter legally and become illegally present are not a threat to anyone," he said in an email. "Let's focus on the criminals, terrorists, and bad people."

According to the employee satisfaction survey, fifteen percent of the 20,000+ workers have been at the agency for three years or less, and between 2005 and 2010 the agency lost an estimated 845 employees.

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Filed by Cristina Costantini  |