Is Janet Napolitano a bad boss, or is the strain of trying to reconcile law enforcement and the demands of idiotic social policy straining employee happiness at Homeland Security? The Government Accountability Office reports that ICE and the TSA are depressing Homeland Security worker morale scores.¹ Those involved in immigration enforcement and removal showed especially low job satisfaction.² Why should we be surprised?
ICE agents do good work but they are rewarded by being placed in an irreconcilable position. How do you remove illegal aliens and not come off looking like the bad guy when even criminal aliens are protected from federal law enforcement (see: States, Politicians, and USCIS Suck Up to Childhood Arrivals)? How does the TSA keep the skies safe while suffering the bad PR of searching infants and the elderly because profiling adherents to the religion causing all the trouble is verboten?
Employee scores on surveys are one thing. Political reality is quite another.
Respecting a boss who recites banal slogans in service to partisan social policy that conflicts with your duties and hints at ignoring your responsibilities presents a problem:
Nearly three years ago, when President Obama came into office and nominated me for this position, he and I both knew that we were inheriting a broken immigration system with a patchwork of laws and outdated requirements that were in desperate need of updating.³
Catchwords and phrases like “smart, effective enforcement” cover for White House decisions that only the politically acceptable part of Homeland Security’s job will be performed. Blather about scarce manpower excuses past failures to effectively remove criminal aliens, a job taxpayers have been paying for all along (see: Criminal Aliens, An Unaffordable Luxury). Meanwhile, we are giving a pass to the majority of illegal aliens because:
The reality is that the immigration enforcement agencies will always encounter more aliens than they can possibly pursue in a given year.4
Social policy shifts are a mainstay of partisan politics. As political fortunes change and agency heads turn over, how does accommodating these changes not make for bad leadership and sagging morale in agencies like Homeland Security, especially when the motivation behind agenda changes is so transparent?
In 2011, one year before the term “childhood arrivals” became the newest excuse to ignore federal laws, our DHS chief vowed:
And while the President and I have both said that relief will not be granted to broad classes of individuals, we will exercise discretion on a case by case basis where we feel it is appropriate and responsible to do so, and when it enhances our ability to meet our priorities.5
One year later, Homeland Security came out with this announcement as hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens fitting a broad profile were made eligible for immunity:
USCIS has developed a rigorous review process for deferred action requests under guidelines issued by Secretary Napolitano,” said USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas. “Childhood arrivals who meet the guidelines and whose cases are deferred will now be able to live without fear of removal, and be able to more fully contribute their talents to our great nation.”6
How difficult it must be to work for Homeland Security when border patrol agents are stretched impossibly thin and expensive technology fails while Americans are told that the southwest border is “open for business” (see: Homeland Security’s Southwest Border Fantasy).
Or when the role of law enforcement is increasingly under scrutiny because the illegal aliens we used to remove are now a protected group.
Or when you are restricted in what you can say and do while performing your duties for fear of offending or violating anti-profiling or anti-discrimination laws.
Or when politicians defend something as offensive as building a mosque at the site where 3,000 Americans were murdered by Muslims and your job is to defend against further Islamic terror attacks.
Or when Democratic social policy becomes too absurd to comprehend and shows no sign of abating.
How do you do your job and carry out your responsibilities to the American people when what you are told to believe can change after every election?