Tuesday, April 19, 2016
A top House Republican is calling on the Department of Homeland Security not to retaliate against a border patrol agent who has recently criticized President Obama's immigration policies.
"I fully expect that you will personally ensure that no DHS employee or contractor will be targeted for reprisal or any other form of adverse employment action on the basis of voicing their legitimate concerns regarding compliance with unwritten departmental policies that contradict your written policies," Judiciary Committee chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., wrote in an April 18 letter to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.
That message was sent on behalf of Brandon Judd, the head of the border patrol union, who has become a thorn in the side of his superiors by testifying that DHS is implementing a "catch-and-release" policy, despite official statements saying that policy is not in effect. He has also suggested that some DHS officials who are candid with Congress risk punishment.
Now, Judd faces misconduct allegations filed by "one or more managers" at Border Patrol.
"Such an inquiry, launched within days of Mr. Judd's testimony before the Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security, raises the specter of retaliation against Mr. Judd and the other executive committee members," Goodlatte wrote. "[P]lease give me your assurance that any allegation of employee misconduct against Mr. Judd or any other DHS employee or contractor will be investigated fairly and impartially by the appropriate DHS component, without any improper influence by any person within DHS."
In March, Judd praised the acting Border Patrol chief's integrity but suggested to lawmakers that he might not be given the permanent title because of his candor.
"I will tell you right now that you have a chief patrol agent right now who has been very open and has given you all candor, and I fear that because of that openness, because of that candor, our current acting chief patrol agent is not even going to be considered for the [job of] permanent chief patrol agent because 'he cannot be controlled,'" Judd told a House panel.