More than 2,000 immigration rights activists are expected to march from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement headquarters in Washington, D.C., to the White House Thursday in support of immigration reform and to fight deportation of families living illegally in the United States.
The rally comes amid speculation that President Obama may take executive action to halt deportations if Congress fails to pass an immigration reform bill.
Casa de Maryland, a nonprofit immigrant rights advocacy group, is leading the rally, set to begin at 11 a.m. in front of ICE's Potomac Center North building on 12th Street. Senior ICE leadership directed employees and law enforcement officers not to confront the protesters and to enter the building through a back entrance, according to an internal memo obtained by TheBlaze.
ICE Assistant Directory Timothy Moynihan, who heads the Office of Professional Responsibility, directed employees not to "engage in verbal or physical confrontation" with activists.
"As with any pre-approved demonstrations, there is always the possibility of additional spontaneous demonstrations," the memo said. "ICE employees entering or departing PCN should not engage in verbal or physical confrontation with participants."
Immigrant advocacy groups like Casa de Maryland have protested against U.S. policies that require returning illegal immigrants to their homeland. Over the past year, nearly 60,000 illegal immigrant children, largely from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, have poured across the southern border expecting they will be allowed to stay, and creating what the Obama administration has called a humanitarian crisis.
An ICE officer speaking to TheBlaze on the condition that they not be named said, "our hands have been tied by the administration and that in essence that amnesty already exists."
The officer said that in previous protest,s the "large majority of the protestors are illegal and ICE officers are forbidden by their senior officials from making arrests or even engaging in any form of communication with the protestors."
"We're a big joke to these immigrant rights groups and the illegal immigrants know were not allowed to do anything," the officer said. "So basically, we have to use a back door and let activists, many who are illegal, stand in front of our building and protest the law. We have to sit there and watch, we have to suck it up and know that regardless of the law, groups like Casa can pretty much dictate policy and do whatever they want."
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