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.