Amid Non-Enforcement Directives, Morale Sinks Even Lower at DHS

DHS_W_atAccording to results of the 2015 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was once again ranked by its employees as the worst place to work in the federal government.

The 240,000 employee department, which includes United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and Customs and Border Protection (CBP), received a 47 percent score on the global satisfaction index and a 53 percent score on the employee engagement index. The global satisfaction index measures whether employees are satisfied with their job, pay, and organization, as well as whether they would recommend their department as a good place to work. The employee engagement index assesses critical conditions conducive for employee engagement, such as effective leadership. DHS’s scores this year were the worst in the federal government and continue the department’s disappointing downward trend for the fifth consecutive year. As a reference, DHS received global satisfaction and employee engagement scores of 62 percent and 61 percent, respectively, in 2010.

Employee morale has long been an issue at DHS, beginning in the Bush administration and steadily worsening during the Obama administration. Current DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson highlighted low morale as one of his top two priorities during his 2013 confirmation hearings and has commissioned a seemingly endless number of studies focusing on fixing the problem. According to the Washington Post, Johnson also launched a “frenzy of morale-boosting efforts including an employee steering committee dedicated to fairness in hiring and promotions, enhanced employee training programs, and Johnson’s department-wide ‘Unity of Effort’ initiative, designed to tackle the department’s management challenges.”

It is unsurprising that morale has continued to drop despite these efforts, as DHS administrators have willfully ignored one of the largest causes of the problem. There are five core missions at DHS, two of which are “secure and manage our borders” and “enforce and administer our immigration laws.”  Yet through President Obama’s deferred action amnesty initiatives and countless internal directives, the border is less secure and immigration agents can be fired for attempting to enforce federal immigration law.

Simply put, DHS employees cannot be expected to have high morale while facing a constant uphill battle to effectively enforce and uphold the law. The Obama administration, in conjunction with DHS administrators, has created a law enforcement nightmare in which political agendas take precedent over public safety.

avatar About RJ Hauman

RJ Hauman joined FAIR in 2015, bringing valuable legislative, regulatory, and political experience to the Government Relations department. He is responsible for reviewing and analyzing legislation and regulations, as well as building and maintaining relationships with Capitol Hill staff. During his time on Capitol Hill, RJ gained immigration policy experience as an aide to former Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-CA), who chaired the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement. RJ holds a B.A. in Political Science from Clemson University.


  1. avatar Kyle says:

    With the dung heap of incompetents at the top that controls it’s directives, is there any wonder moral is so low?

    • avatar Ken says:

      Yep. Having this president and his waterboy department heads, all total losers, can wipe out morale. This might be the worst cabinet, president, VP and Supreme Court EVER, certainly in the last many decades. Together they are destroying the country that gave them everything. Many of them should be in jail not enjoying the perks the taxpayer gives them.

  2. In This Globalist Work World

    With pay spiraling down and management putting pressures on existing workers…..going to work is turning into a stress-filled chore, instead of a pleasure. During these “job-scarce” times, “the slime rises to the top”.

  3. avatar Leland says:

    In March 2014 this administration ordered that border patrol agents must retreat from rock throwers along the Mexican border. Before this, they could stand their ground and use deadly fire if the rock throwing continued. Of course, immigration “advocates” have always insisted that there’s no danger from a few rocks, but they are not the ones standing there while a rock comes flying in unseen can put an eye out.

    The purpose of the rocks has always been clear. They want the agents to be distracted so drug runners and illegals can cross the border. But now the criminals have assistance from our government. The orders are retreat and let them have their way.