Is This An O Ring Moment In The Immigration Debate?

Richard Feynman's   O Ring Solution

Richard Feynman’s O Ring Solution

Once again Americans find themselves listening to politicians, pundits and advocates promoting solutions to the collapse of our immigration system which instead of uniting Americans in a common goal of solving a national problem seem to do nothing but divide us.

What if the solution to our dysfunctional immigration system is something that neither politicians, pundits, nor advocates have been willing to consider or focus on?

What if we have been looking at the wrong people, the immigrants and illegal aliens, rather than the people who have given us a broken immigration system?

Can examining the collapse of the merit system and corruption of the hiring practices in the USCIS/ICE, formerly INS, lead us to an O Ring moment in understanding why immigration is so broken and what needs to be done?

I don’t know, but at least there is an increasing recognition among key ‘stakeholders’ in the immigration system that flagrant, self-enriching corruption by senior management within our immigration services has been the root cause for the system’s collapse.

Below is just one little email from a Local Union President to USCIS management but perhaps it’s also a sign, a demonstration that Americans and aspiring Americans are sick of being shaken down by crooks in our immigration services?

From: Yacob, Yosef
Sent: Wednesday, January 16, 2013 8:20 AM
To: Renaud, Daniel M
Cc: Louis, Jennifer E; Brennan, Sue S; Reiher, Jennifer; Saraceno, Rose P; Nau, Daniel R; Brown, Gary P; ‘Usell Copeland’
Subject: Meetings with CSC Management

The Union does not wish to remain to engage in a continuing excise of futility with the management.

Management’s enduring failure to effect promised and necessary changes has now placed my credibility as the President of the Local Union at issue.

Unless and until such time as the USCIS, SCOPS and CSC management evidence a serious willingness to address the systematic failure to comply with merit selection laws in the hiring and promotion practices, I see no purpose in the Union’s effective participation in further meetings.

I have conveyed to you as well as Ms. Rosemary, her management, as well as Mr. Mayorkas on several occasions, merit selection and promotion was, is and will persist as the NUMBER ONE PRIORITY of the concerns of the members of the bargaining unit both locally and nationally.

The most recent selections of the ISO 3 position have again undermined the battered integrity of the system and have already spawned five grievance and two EEO complaints. This unfavorable employee reaction confirms, as did the recent survey, both of the CSC and DHS employees, of a serious lack of confidence in the honor of management decisions. As I have repeatedly shared, this state of employee sentiments is allowed to perpetuate to the detriment of national security.

By inaction, the Union does not wish to appear silent or to be complicit in such events. The merit selection continues to be openly and disgracefully managed by managers who the membership perceives to be central in the abuse of the merit system during the course of the last eight years and continuing.Aside from the very apparent violation of the merit selection laws, there does not appear to be any rhyme or reason for the selections other than subjective considerations which favor friends rather than the public interest. The selections do not even begin top mirror the requirements for the positions. Promotions at the CSC, rather than merit continue to be based on subjective considerations calculated to reward friends rather than the public trust.

Management has and continues to unwisely place the Union in an adversial posture. As such, I do not wish, by further participation, to compromise the Union’s attitude towards the reprehensible embedded organizational culture and managers which continue to challenge even the dictates of the Presidential appointee.

If you require the ritual presence of Union representatives, I have designated, Daniel Nau and Jennifer Rheir to meet with management, please contact them directly in the future.

AFGE LOCAL 1200, along with its sister local’s will seek and focus its efforts to effect change at the national level.

Prohibitive hiring practices?

Abuse and total disregard for the merit system?

A culture of corruption among senior management which is indifferent and dismissive of  political oversight?

A complete disregard for our national security?

All taking place over a number of years?

This litany of charges by Mr. Yacob against USCIS are remarkably similar to the charges leveled in 2005 and 2006 against Robert Cowan, the Director of the National Benefits Center, NBC, in Lee’s Summit, Missouri back in 2005 and 2006 by a group of USCIS whistleblowers. Coincidentally, Mr. Cowan was once the Director of the California Service Center and one of his protégés is currently the Director.

The core of the whistleblowers’ charges against Mr. Cowan in 2005-6 made up a large part of the Congressional testimony of the former Director of the Office of Security and Investigations at USCIS,  Michael Maxwell who came out of USCIS in 2005 and 2006 with great fanfare and panting journalists with visions of Pulitzers dancing in their heads. I have seen the email exchanges between the whistleblowers, Mr. Maxwell, and NumbersUSA in which the whistleblowers obviously believed they were co-operating with a Congressional investigations into wrongdoing by Mr. Cowan which had truly serious consequences for national security.

How serious? Serious enough that early on before Maxwell’s testimony major news outlets were being fed leads and were given a heads up that a serious story was about to break. 60 Minutes somehow got wind of the whistleblowers and sent out a crew to interview them. However, as quickly as Washington insiders and the media appeared ready to embrace and take seriously the NBC whistleblowers, a new element was added to the narrative the whistleblowers had hoped to lay before Congress.

Mike Maxwell, A Star is Born.

More than any other individual during the 2005-2007 immigration debates, Mike Maxwell tempted, terrified and infuriated Washington insiders.  One senior intelligence official considered him one of the most dangerous individuals on the Washington scene – “he can do a lot of damage.” In his testimony on the Hill and his public appearances the former Director of OSI at USCIS exposed incompetence and rampant corruption within USCIS all of which contributed to significant national security threats. It was hard to believe that 5 years after 9/11 that the agency most visibly responsible for letting in the terrorists who carried out the attacks was arguably more dysfunctional and dangerous than it had been in 2001, yet it was, as anyone who reviews his testimony and the press coverage can see.

However, as Maxwell was riding his appearances before Congress to fame and fortune and eventually onto a Congressional staff, his supporting whistleblowers, some still in USCIS suddenly found themselves being the target of retaliation and defamation. Congressmen and staff who had not taken the necessary and required steps to protect and personally interview the witnesses whose evidence and stories they were using to make headlines, couldn’t or wouldn’t take the time or make an effort to answer unresolved questions concerning Maxwell’s own background and why was he still in personal contact with individuals who he was allegedly blowing the whistle on?

But what was most troubling about Maxwell’s role in the 2006-2007 immigration debate was that the issues now being raised by CSC local union president and which were at the heart of the whistleblowers’ reasons for risking career, fortune and arguably their lives, were suddenly regulated to secondary importance on Capitol Hill and in the media. And Mr. Maxwell himself seems to have disappeared in a puff of controversy which no one in Washington appears to want to address or investigate. The most dangerous man in Washington suddenly became the incredibly shrinking media star, a black hole for Washington’s intrepid, investigative journalists.

Where is a Feynman when you need him?

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