More Racial Injustice in the Justice Department: The Immigration and Naturalization Service Is the Latest Branch to Be Charges with Employment Discrimination

Article excerpt

The Immigration and Naturalization Service is the latest branch to be charged with employment discrimination.

The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) is the latest Justice Department branch to be charged with racial discrimination by its employees. A group of agents in Los Angeles has filed a class action suit against INS. Also, several employees from INS headquarters in Washington, D.C., have turned to the congressional Committee on Government Operations, chaired by Congressional Black Caucus member John Conyers (D-Mich.), for assistance.

Following the dubious lead of its fellow agencies - the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms - INS has shown little inclination to diversify its workforce, and minorities are consistently denied opportunities to advance. Is it the good old boy network, ignorance or plain old-fashioned racism?

Harry A. Thomas, a 14-year veteran at INS, suspects it's a bit of each. He believed his career was progressing nicely, until he became a grade 14 senior agent and eligible for senior executive positions. Suddenly, he couldn't even get an interview. Over the past three years, he has applied for - and been denied - more than 80 domestic and international positions, despite an exemplary service record.

Thomas first sensed there was a problem when he couldn't get an interview for the lateral position of chief border patrol agent. …