Thousands of immigration protesters were planning to converge on Immigration and Customs Enforcement headquarters in Washington Thursday, and the department warned employees to stay out of their way.
ICE employees should use the 12th Street building back door to get to work, stay away from windows once in the office, and not “engage in verbal or physical confrontation,” agency officials told workers. Several employees told FoxNews.com they believe directive shows the agency is putting the demonstrators above its own workers.
"ICE is compelling employees to be inconvenienced in favor of protesters and illegals at ICE headquarters in DC," one source told FoxNews.com. "Normally, barricades are set up to create a perimeter to protect employees and their access to the building, [but] the protesters and illegals are being accommodated while ICE retreats. It's appalling!"
Casa de Maryland organized the rally, which includes a march from ICE headquarters to the White House, to protest the ongoing deportation of illegal immigrants caught crossing the Mexican border.
“As with any pre-approved demonstrations, there is always the possibility of additional spontaneous demonstrations,” read a memo sent by ICE Assistant Directory Timothy Moynihan, who heads the Office of Professional Responsibility. “ICE employees entering or departing PCN should not engage in verbal or physical confrontation with participants.”
An agency official said the policy was for the good of ICE workers.
"U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) take the safety of its employees seriously and plans accordingly," ICE spokeswoman Gillian Christensen told FoxNews.com.
The rally was scheduled as President Obama reportedly considers taking executive action to halt deportations if Congress fails to pass an immigration reform bill.
ICE Assistant Directory Timothy Moynihan, who heads the Office of Professional Responsibility, directed employees not to “engage in verbal or physical confrontation” with activists.