Saturday, February 8, 2014

I Ask Again: How Wide Spread Is US Border Patrol Overtime Abuse?

In response:

I Ask Again:  How Wide Spread Is US Border Patrol Overtime Abuse?

I remember joining the US Border Patrol at age 27.  I naively believed that since our Government was behind border enforcement that it must be right, right?

Then reality hits.  I experienced that the vast majority of the people coming north were simply honest, poorer people looking for a better life.  I also knew that some of them were people who we had just  arrested picking US tomatoes or strawberries in Carlsbad, CA.

Then I saw a young Mexican man fall to his death while playing this game.  I lost two agent friends while we played this game too.  Needless to say, I began to painfully question what my work was all about.

I was so mad that I tried to get my Chula Vista Chief Patrol Agent Gene Wood to fire me.  I turned myself in for lying about, "padding" or "penciling in " overtime hours worked.   

This was long before any governmental whistleblower protections.  I was afraid to go to the press because I did not want my co-workers to suffer.  They were suckered, coerced and bribed into this same hypocrisy that I was (swear to uphold the law but lying about overtime is OK). 

I was just at the point were I didn't care what they did to me.  I naively hoped my exposure of the AUO lying would change the system.   My case was swept under the rug.  I eventually went into INS investigations which was much more suitable for me.

Today there are similar overtime abuse cases pending.

My case started in 1984.  From my experience I would say that lying about AUO overtime in the US Border Patrol is cultural, systemic and system wide. 

So some basic eye-opening, infuriating math.  Let's say one third of the 19,000 current agents lie about overtime.  Let's say their average pay grades are GS-9's and that take home $50,000 a year.  They would make 25% of that $50,000 as overtime ($12,500) by lying.  If roughly one third of the 19,000 agents lied that would be 6,333 agents times $12,500 or $79,162,500 tax payers' dollars ripped off per year.  If that figure was constant for ten years the gouge jumps up to $791,625,000. 

And ICE?  Harder to prove but from my experience the game is the same.

As my 1984 memo asked, what if everyone is doing it?   We are talking billions of dollars.

By the way, I recently sent my case to the US Office of Special Council OSC File No. DI-14-0361 which that office officially closed on 1/30/2014  "Because I do not have first-hand knowledge whether AUO abuse has continued at El Cajon Station".   


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