U.S. OFFICE OF SPECIAL COUNSEL FILES LEGAL ACTION TO
OBTAIN CORRECTIVE ACTION FOR INS WHISTLEBLOWER
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 5/25/99
CONTACT: JANE MCFARLAND
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
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.