OSC Seal

U.S. Office of Special Counsel

1730 M Street, N.W., Suite 300

Washington, D.C. 20036-4505


(202) 653-7984      

    Today, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) petitioned the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) for corrective action on behalf of Mr. Neil Jacobs for violation of his Whistleblower Protection Act rights by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS).

    After a thorough investigation, OSC concluded that Mr. Jacobs, Assistant District Director for Investigations in the agency’s Dallas office, was suspended from his job for 21 days and ordered reassigned to a non-supervisory position in retaliation for providing information to a Congressional subcommittee and the media that was critical of INS’ “Citizenship USA” program. 

    OSC filed this legal action after the INS Commissioner failed to respond in any way to OSC’s Report of Prohibited Personnel Practices requesting voluntary corrective action. That report outlines OSC’s findings of retaliation in detail and has been in INS’ possession since April 12, 1999. According to the 23-page report, which was filed with MSPB today along with OSC’s complaint, Mr. Jacobs engaged in protected whistleblowing when he testified before the U.S. House of Representatives, Subcommittee on National Security, International Affairs and Criminal Justice of the Committee on Government Reform and Oversight. In his testimony, he disclosed possible fraud and other abuses involving the INS Dallas District Office’s processing of 10,000 naturalization applications. Mr. Jacobs was also perceived to have provided similar information to the news media.

    Prior to his disclosures, Mr. Jacobs had received national recognition for his accomplishments. For example, Jacobs was honored at the White House for his role in “Operation Jobs,” a program he implemented in Dallas whereby illegal aliens are removed from jobs and replaced with welfare recipients. He received a “Golden Hammer” award from Vice President Al Gore for his reinvention efforts and a Ford Foundation award for his innovations in government. Jacobs also received numerous “Outstanding” annual performance ratings and other awards. 

    Following his disclosure, INS conducted a series of investigations into allegations about Mr. Jacobs’ conduct and performance and considered firing him. However, even after most of the allegations were proven unfounded, INS suspended Mr. Jacobs for 21 days and ordered his reassignment to a non-supervisory position. Last November, OSC obtained a stay of Mr. Jacobs’ reassignment from the MSPB to allow it to complete its investigation of his complaint. 

    The papers filed by OSC with the Board request that INS rescind its reassignment order and provide Mr. Jacobs with back pay and other appropriate relief. In addition, OSC asked for an indefinite stay of his proposed reassignment while the case is pending before MSPB.

    Copies of the Report of Prohibited Personnel Practices may be obtained by calling 202-653-7984.