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January 13, 2017Washington, DC, United StatesManagement and Administration

Director Sarah R. Saldaña retires from government service

Dignitaries, special guests, and ICE employees joined Director Saldaña’s family and friends to celebrate the Director’s distinguished career at a heartfelt retirement ceremony on January 11, 2017, in Washington, D.C.

“I am going to miss you all,” Director Saldaña said, becoming emotional during her remarks when talking about the women and men of ICE. “Keep your heads high; we have so much to be proud of in this agency.”

DHS Acting Deputy Secretary Russell C. Deyo acknowledged Director Saldaña’s law enforcement leadership gifts and praised her employee engagement efforts, commenting specifically on ICE’s remarkable 11% increase in global employee satisfaction.

During the ceremony, the Director recognized her friend Col. Reynaldo Rodriguez - a proud Mexican-American veteran in his tenth decade of life.  He was spry of mind and body, and stood next to the Director while she spoke of his service as a navigator for Air Force One starting with President Eisenhower.

She said that there are many people like Mr. Rodriguez who are not recognized for their service and that she wanted to include him in her ceremony.

The Director also shared her retirement plans, which include staying involved with ICE’s mission, joining the board of her church in Dallas, Texas, and working on a foundation set up in her son’s name that will provide supplies and resources to children who are creative and need financial assistance.

Director Saldaña was sworn in as the fourth director of ICE on December 23, 2014. She is the first Latina to lead ICE and proudly represented ICE before the U.S. Congress, in the national and local media and, in the community.  Employee engagement was a top priority during her tenure and she visited many international and domestic locations to meet ICE employees.

“Obviously, I’m not the person who did the work,” she said, reflecting on her time at ICE. “We often credit the Director as opposed to the workforce and I’m here to say that is not the most appropriate focus. The focus should be on the women and men of ICE who do all that they do.”