Alleged ICE Racism May Be Nation-Wide

Published : Friday, 20 Aug 2010, 5:29 PM CDT

HOUSTON - A noose found hanging in an office for Immigration and Customs Enforcement and a letter left for a black employee asking him to check if he's a queer or a sissy who is filing a complaint.

Tre Rebstock is the president of the American Federation of Government Employees.

"It's ludicrous in this day and age to be targeting somebody else because of the color of their skin. Absolutely unacceptable," he says.

Rebstock says African American workers have endured racism and harassment by those in charge at Homeland Security in Houston.

"There are at least two managers who need to retire and get their personal preferences out the door with them," he says.

When we first reported about the alleged discrimination at Homeland Security, we began getting lots of calls.

African American federal workers from around the country 'claiming' they're experiencing the same type of treatment.

Congressman Gene Green viewed our report. He says because Homeland Security enforces immigration laws, it's crucial they're above board.

"That kind of activity is not to be tolerated in whether it takes a lawsuit or whether it takes ICE in Washington to hear enough about this to deal with the supervisors who allow this to continue," Green says.

Are the Houston allegations an isolated incident at the Department of Homeland Security?

We took a look at the national numbers.

From 2004 to 2009, there were 652 employees who filed racially-based complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Another 443 workers in that same period filed color-related complaints.

243 people also filed non-sexual harassment charges against Homeland Security.

"The leadership in ICE needs to know whether it's happening in Houston or LA or any other city because that's unacceptable for any federal agency," Congressman Green says.

FOX 26 News spoke with officials from homeland security on Wednesday.

They did not go on camera but issued a statement saying discrimination of any kind would not be tolerated.

A spokesperson also says if an employee feels victimized they have a complaint process in place to address the issue.

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