At protests outside of Immigration and Customs Enforcement facilities, it’s common to hear demonstrators calling on agents to quit their jobs. Now, a new website is actually helping ICE employees abandon their posts by offering them free and confidential job search support.
On Monday, immigrant rights group Never Again Action launched the service for ICE employees who want to leave the agency. Within 24 hours, the Atlanta-based organization already had a few bites.
The Daily Beast reports that morale in U.S. immigration agencies is on the decline. President Donald Trump’s anti-immigration policies have led to what some employees feel are inhumane family separations, child custody deaths and cruel detention conditions.
While U.S. Customs and Border Protection is a separate agency from ICE, reports show that growing frustrations with the directives coming out of the White House that impact their work has contributed to some CBP officer suicides.
“My continuing thought has been that this level of activity combined with the disastrous policy of wholesale separating children from parents has a very negative impact on CBP personnel. They did not join to take a 2-year-old from his mother,” former CBP Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske told Quartz in July.
Aware of the swelling discontent among ICE employees, Never Again Action realized that if they went beyond demanding agents to resign and offered them opportunities that could help them transition into new roles then some staff might actually quit.
Emily Baselt, an organizer with Never Again Atlanta, told The Daily Beast that she started brainstorming what the program would look like in July. Inspired by the career services departments that exist at colleges and universities, she hoped to provide career guidance for fed-up ICE agents.
Through the website, disillusioned officers can be paired with a confidential career adviser who helps them with their résumé, cover letter, application, interviews and job hunt. According to the group, the advisers are also experienced and qualified, with some holding MBAs and others working professionally in career counseling.
“Though we can’t guarantee or provide you with a job, our volunteer career advisers are dedicated to supporting you through the job hunting process so you can quit your ICE job quickly,” the website reads.
In the first three hours of the campaign’s launch, Baselt said the group received two messages from agents eager to leave their posts.
“Based on the two people who reached out to us, there are definitely people there who don’t want to be there,” she told the news outlet. “The defector who came in overnight is a Customs and Border Patrol agent who has been there for many years. The comment that person left was something like ‘I’m drowning in this place.’”
Never Again Action – a Jewish-led group that launched this summer using the post-Holocaust cry of “never again” to call for the complete shut down of ICE, a closing of migrant camps and a stop to roundups and mass deportations – has received mostly positive responses since announcing the campaign on Twitter this week. However, there was some criticism from progressives who believed conflicted ICE agents should quit their jobs at once.
For Baselt, while officers walking out of their jobs would be ideal, she doesn’t think it’s realistic for workers, especially those with families.
“I spent a lot of time thinking about the fact that it’s easy to say ‘quit your job,’ but it’s not always easy to walk out like that,” she said.