Award winning ICE agent says he was held down for complaining
Sept 5, 2012
The Department of Homeland Security will face yet another lawsuit alleging that an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent was discriminated against and punished by superiors for filing previous complaints.
Indian-born Sikh Sunil Walia, who was awarded by for outstanding work in 2007, now says that he was intentionally reassigned and prevented from bettering his position within the government because he had successfully filed two previous discrimination complaints against Janet Napolitano and the DHS.
Walia was assigned to JFK airport to interview people entering the US that had been identified as ‘suspicious’ by the DHS. But in 2010, he says he was reassigned to an office in downtown Manhattan, to focus only on “administrative immigration matters.”
Seeking $2.5 million in damages for discrimination and retaliation, Walia alleges that the agency’s actions killed any chances he had of working a higher post with The Joint Terrorism Task force. DHS agents must complete at least two years in an assignment before being eligible for consideration for such posts.
Big Sis has faced a slew of discrimination lawsuits recently, most notably involving allegations of sexual harassment.
The charges culminated in the resignation this week of ICE Chief of Staff Suzanne Barr, who called the allegations “unfounded” but said she resigned to preserve the reputation of the agency.
ICE employees complained that Barr created and encouraged a “frat-house type atmosphere that is targeted to humiliate and intimidate male employees.”
Specifically, the lawsuit alleges that Barr demanded a male ICE Special Agent engage in oral sex with her and that she relocated three top male ICE agents’ offices to the men’s bathroom at ICE headquarters.
One of the defendants, James T. Hayes Jr., also alleges discrimination and retaliation at the hands of Napolitano, who he claims hired Dora Schriro to incrementally take over his position as a special agent in charge of New York City investigations, because of a “long standing relationship” Schriro had “with the Secretary.”
The affidavit (PDF) summarizes that Hayes “was being replaced in his duties because of this relationship and because he was not female.”
“Schriro was not as qualified for the position plaintiff had because of lack of federal law-enforcement experience,” Hayes claimed in his suit. “
The New York Post reported that the number of non-sexual harassment claims filed against ICE workers jumped by 44 between 2009 and 2011, and the number of sexual harassment claims jumped by eight in the same time period.
The Post also noted that the data it obtained revealed that agency-wide claims of retaliation from supervisors after employees acted as whistleblowers jumped from 43 in 2009 to 63 in 2010, before spiking to 103 claims in 2011.
More details of the lurid allegations are covered in our report from the weekend and the Infowars coverage below:
Steve Watson is the London based writer and editor for Alex Jones’ Infowars.com, and Prisonplanet.com. He has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the School of Politics at The University of Nottingham in England.