The New York Times and the Nonexistent DHS Corruption “Scandal”

The New York Times recently ran a piece smearing immigration enforcement authorities entitled “The Enemy Within: Bribes Bore a Hole in the U.S. Border.” It purports to be an exposé on bribes of Department of Homeland Security (DHS) employees and contractors. It also hints that the Trump administration’s plans to gain control of our borders will be nixed by complications arising “from within” border control agencies, namely corrupt immigration officers. The clear implication is that DHS officials are easily bribed and will readily sacrifice national security and public safety for personal gain.

The only problem: The numbers paint a significantly less scandalous picture. The Times concedes that all of its information was drawn from court records and internal agency documents. That means all of the corruption referenced in the article was detected and prosecuted by DHS. Sounds more like due diligence than a systemic problem.

It also notes that DHS has brought corruption charges against roughly 200 people over a 10 year period. DHS employs approximately 250,000 people and engages the services of roughly 100,000 contractors. That means that a tiny fraction of DHS’s total workforce – far less than the one percent cited by the Times, as the number of contractors working for DHS is notoriously hard to pin down – has been involved in shady dealings.

Zero corruption is a laudable goal. Nevertheless, any agency with over a quarter of a million people working for it is, inevitably, going to have a few bad apples. But there is absolutely no indication that DHS has become so infected with corruption that it is unable to handle its responsibilities.

Of course, the New York Times seems to have a fluid view on preserving the integrity of the legal system. When lawbreakers serve its ends, it promotes them vigorously. In 2011, the Times Sunday Magazine published a puff piece by Jose Antonio Vargas that glorified immigration fraud, harboring illegal aliens and employment law violations. Since then, it has published numerous articles and editorials encouraging local law enforcement officials to violate the Immigration and Nationality Act by declaring themselves sanctuary cities. And it has taken a brazenly partisan stance against all of President-elect Trump’s immigration enforcement plans.

So why is the Times hysterically pointing out that the sky is falling at DHS? It could be overt bias, a lack of journalistic ethics or a desire to sell newspapers. In the end, it doesn’t really matter. The real story is that, on an average day, the anti-rule-of-law entities consistently celebrated by the New York Times do more to hobble immigration law enforcement and imperil national security than all 20 of the corrupt DHS employees prosecuted in a typical year.

About Author


Matthew J. O’Brien joined the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in 2016. Matt is responsible for managing FAIR’s research activities. He also writes content for FAIR’s website and publications. Over the past twenty years he has held a wide variety of positions focusing on immigration issues, both in government and in the private sector. Immediately prior to joining FAIR Matt served as the Chief of the National Security Division (NSD) within the Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate (FDNS) at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), where he was responsible for formulating and implementing procedures to protect the legal immigration system from terrorists, foreign intelligence operatives, and other national security threats. He has also held positions as the Chief of the FDNS Policy and Program Development Unit, as the Chief of the FDNS EB-5 Division, as Assistant Chief Counsel with U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement, as a Senior Advisor to the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman, and as a District Adjudications Officer with the legacy Immigration & Naturalization Service. In addition, Matt has extensive experience as a private bar attorney. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in French from the Johns Hopkins University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Maine School of Law.


  1. avatar

    As usual, the mentality of these idiots attempting to exhibit the minute number of scum that are actually employed by our inept government, doesn’t truly matter. It’s the criminal intent of their lawlessness, and the actual number of illegal alien invaders they allowed across OUR border, that matters the most. Not to mention the terrorist threat out there, that would like nothing more than to transform our way of life, because they’ll actually think we’ll cower from their attempts to frighten us. THINK AGAIN!

  2. avatar

    Your short piece deserves a wide audience, Mr. O’Brien. I expect to share with my senators and representative.

  3. avatar

    Regarding some sherrif wanting to have prisoners build the wall. I do not agree at all. First the wall is a waste of money in most places and what we need is better border patrolling. Wall money would be better spent on crumbling bridges dams and roads. But if they do build the wall I want the money to go to American workers and not some rich owner of private prisons.we need more blue collar jobs not more deals for the wealthy.

  4. avatar

    Ever Since the JFK and MLK Assassinations

    Organized Crime simply took over as a Shadow Government….hand picking our candidates with bribe puppet strings….and making your freedom of speech against them a reason to fire you from your scarce job.

  5. avatar
    kurt thialfad on

    There will always be corruption and the temptation to engage in corruption. But you can put in place safeguards to limit it. Number one, we should never assign border agents of Mexican descent to the southern border, as we should never assign border agents of Canadian descent to the northern border, nor border agents of Cuban descent to the Miami area, etc. We followed a similar protocol during WWII where Japanese- American troops were only assigned to the European front. Doing otherwise simply presents too great a temptation.

    • avatar

      There is a little known story but absolutely true about Pearl Harbor. The Japanese pilots were told to try to make it to the westernmost of the main Hawaiian islands if they had damage and could not return to the ships. Two crash landed and told two of the families of Japanese descent on the island what had happened. Those families lied to their English and Hawaiian speaking neighbors about the attack, as news had not yet reached them. That fact was part of the of the reason that Japanese Americans were suspected of disloyalty. On the other hand lots of first generation Germans and Italians fought voluntarily against those two countries.

      As for the NT Times 17% of their stock is owned by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim. He supports their government in their constant attempts to encourage their citizens to flout our laws. Trump is not going to let this country be Mexico’s doormat anymore.

        • avatar

          What does that have to do with what I said. Go elsewhere if you want to play twenty questions.

          • avatar

            Does being the richest person in the world mean he isn’t working with the Mexican government to undermine our laws? Try and not burn too many brain cells trying to figure out the difference.

          • avatar

            It was just a curiosity … as per your racist comments against mexicans…there is one that kicked the whole world in wealth that happens to be Mexican … that is all nothing to read into it…..impressiver

          • avatar

            Not Politically Correct for instance how come you being born here, supposedly a first world citizen, are not as successful as Mr Slim? how come a Mexican is smarter and richer than you are? One things is a fact, even if you had been born in Mexico, you would have never supposed Mr Slim.

            I care, because it tells us like our forefathers told us not too take anything for granted….

    • avatar

      Kurt ….”Mexican descent ” so you imply anybody born here with Mexican descent is to be barred? what an idiotic/racist comment is that? it shows your ignorance and blatant intellect….really honestly…they put those guys for the same reason the Romans and other kingdoms did the same….educate yourself…..