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Office of Public Affairs (OPA)

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"We tell ICE’s story."

The ICE Office of Public Affairs (OPA) is the agency's public face, dedicated to communicating and fostering an understanding of the agency's mission through outreach to employees, the media and the general public. OPA also oversees the agency's internal communication needs, offering a wide range of products to employees through a variety of mediums.

OPA is the agency's public face, a team of communications professionals dedicated to telling the story of ICE and fostering an understanding of the agency's mission through outreach to employees, the media and the general public.

OPA strives at all times to maintain transparency, consistency, accuracy and credibility in the agency’s communication efforts. Effective and reliable communication to both external and internal audiences is integral to supporting the agency’s enforcement efforts and directly affects the agency’s reputation and the morale of ICE employees.

OPA also oversees the agency's internal communication needs, offering a wide range of multimedia products to agency employees through a variety of publications and media channels. In addition, OPA administers the agency’s key online properties, including ICE.gov and the agency’s Intranet.

ICE OPA is headquartered in Washington, D.C. ICE field public affairs officers, located throughout the country, are responsible for regional media relations in designated geographic areas.

Mission

OPA builds understanding and support for the agency's mission through outreach to DHS employees, the media and the general public. With a strong commitment to transparency and candor, OPA strives at all times to maintain transparency, consistency, accuracy and credibility in the agency’s communication efforts.

Barbara Gonzalez, Acting Assistant Director, Office of Public Affairs
Barbara Gonzalez 
Acting Assistant Director, Office of Public Affairs

Barbara Gonzalez is the assistant director (Acting) for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Public Affairs (OPA) within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

ICE is the federal government’s second largest law enforcement agency, with nearly 19,000 employees in 400 domestic and 62 international offices in 47 countries.

Ms. Gonzalez directs the agency’s global communications efforts and a staff of 58 employees responsible for media engagement, strategic communications and internal communications.

Prior to her current position, Ms. Gonzalez served as the agency’s senior advisor to Latin America, frequently representing the agency and DHS throughout Latin America in high-profile migration matters.

As the senior advisor to Latin America, Ms. Gonzalez led communications efforts on behalf of DHS in Central America raising awareness about the dangers associated with unlawful migration and the U.S. government’s efforts in working multilaterally in the region to tackle transnational organized crime.

Ms. Gonzalez began her federal career in 1996 working for the former Immigration and Naturalization Service. She joined ICE when DHS was created in 2003.

Ms. Gonzalez previously served as the agency’s press secretary from May 2011 to July 2014, leading more than 30 public affairs officers around the country and directing media relations and strategy for ICE in the United States and internationally.

Prior to that, she served in various roles within ICE as a spokesperson and supervisor. During this time, she responded to a wide array of high-profile media issues including the nation’s ongoing immigration debate, freighter and airplane hijackings, and incidents involving ICE’s Migrant Operations Center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. She has also served as a spokesperson in numerous significant national and international criminal cases involving espionage, child exploitation, human trafficking, money laundering and contraband smuggling.

Ms. Gonzalez is a crisis communications expert who has trained DHS and Department of Defense personnel, multiple governors and other elected officials. She also conducted training on behalf of the Center for Homeland Defense and Security’s Mobile Education Team at the Naval Postgraduate School.

As a native Spanish speaker, Ms. Gonzalez frequently speaks on behalf of DHS and is routinely interviewed on Spanish-speaking news programs around the world. In 2013, Ms. Gonzalez was named a “Woman Worth Watching” in the Profiles in Diversity Journal.

Ms. Gonzalez attended Florida International University (FIU) in Miami, and graduated with a master’s degree in public administration and a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She also holds a graduate certificate from FIU in human resource management.