The USCIS’ Untouchable Robert Cowan

Systemic corruption erodes trust and confidence in democratic institutions, the rule of law, and human rights protections. This is the case when public officials are allowed to abuse their authority with impunity for political or financial gains in collusion with private entities. (H.R. 4405: Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012)

Robert Cowan is now the Acting Central District Manager of the USCIS. Cowan a member of the DHS SES, and long time senior manager in the USCIS, has been accused of fraudulent abuse in the hiring process, misuse of government funds for his own purposes, sleeping with subordinates, failing to follow legal mandates set by Congress, retaliating against employees who have attempted to report his misdeeds, to list just a few of the charges I have seen sent on to the USCIS OSI, DHS OIG, Office of Special Counsel, and Congressional Oversight committees by USCIS’ whistle-blowers. In short, Mr. Cowan has engaged over his long career in acts remarkably similar to James Woosley, the former Director of ICE Intelligence, in fact, it appears they may have even served together in California during their INS years.

So a question might arise to an inquiring mind, or a prosecutor, why is Woosley sitting in jail while Cowan may be sitting in one of the most important positions in the US Immigration Service as President Obama plans to process millions of new applicants thru the very offices which Mr. Cowan oversees?

Mr Cowan who has been Director of the National Benefits Center and the Director of the National Records Center in Missouri has been at the center of investigations of wrong doing in the former INS and now USCIS for years, first in California, and then during the immigration hearings on the Hill in 2005-2007. Under Mr. Cowan thousands of criminals, including terrorists, murderers, rapists and pedophiles have been allowed to enter our country, our communities without criminal background checks. Furthermore, there is tantalizing evidence, according to the whistle-blowers, that he took part along with Mike Maxwell, and others senior USCIS officials in misleading and obstructing Congressional investigations into corruption and national security leaks within the USCIS. Yet, Mr. Cowan appears to be the most protected and untouchable bureaucrat in America. Why is that?

Does it have anything to do with his former mentor Terry O’Reilly who was so instrumental in plowing thru the CUSA backlog and naturalizing so many new arrivals in record time, regularly bypassing criminal background checks on the applicants?

O’Reilly is known for having a formidable network of friends and former colleagues in government, the non-profit sector and the private sector, none of whom really want the CUSA debacle in processing revisited in the press, or in the courts.

Among them is this prominent appointee of President Obama, the United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees, T. Alexander Aleinkoff (sic). Aleinkoff was Mr. O’Reilly boss at the time of CUSA, hence Mr. Cowan’s boss. Mr Aleinkoff is one of the country’s leading experts on immigration law, however, as President Obama has discovered with Constitutional Law, the praxis between theory and practice can be troublesome and chaotic.

Of course, once one gets up to the level of the politicos like Professor Aleinkoff it would be unfair to assume they have knowledge of, or concern with the nuts and bolts of getting the policies they come up with implemented. This gives the politicos the cover of deniability and this has been a feature of both political parties as they have controlled the levers of our immigration system. They are concerned only with the results they order their subordinates to deliver and this is where managers like Rob Cowan and James Woosley find their niche and license to do whatever they choose to do as long as they can keep headquarters happy.

Unfortunately for headquarters, as they found out with Woosley, there comes a point when such upper management and headquarters become one and the same, and it appears from Mr. Cowan’s high perch in USCIS, that USCIS is at that point, and deniability may no longer be an option for the politicos.

Perhaps Congress should recall Mr. Maxwell to the stand and may I humbly suggest an opening line of inquiry: Was Mr. Maxwell himself duped by senior management in USCIS in covering up gross corruption within the immigration service in 2005-2007, or was he part of the duping?

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