September 23, 2022

Staff at DHS’s troubled Inspector-General’s Office, which oversees DHS’s border law enforcement agencies, sent an anonymous letter to President Biden asking him to remove their boss, embattled Trump appointee Joseph Cuffari. “We need help,” the letter reads. “We can no longer be silent when faced with continuous mismanagement of DHS OIG at its highest levels.”

The Project on Government Oversight (POGO), which has revealed concerning examples of weak DHS oversight under Cuffari, shared the letter, which cites “decisions that have demoralized his staff and damaged the organization.” The letter’s authors describer themselves as “concerned DHS OIG employees representing every program office at every grade level.”

In 2016 Cuffari, then an advisor in the Arizona governor’s office, “was so enthusiastic about what he called Donald Trump’s ‘huge win’ in the 2016 presidential election that he applied for a job with the incoming administration within days,” the Washington Post reported in September.

“On the campaign trail in 2020, in reaction to a spate of highly criticized watchdog removals by then-President Donald Trump, Biden made a promise that he would not remove inspectors general,” POGO observed.

— Nick Schwellenbach. “DHS Watchdog Staff Call on Biden to Fire Inspector General Cuffari.” Washington: Project on Government Oversight, September 23, 2022. <>

— Sanchez, Yvonne Wingett, Maria Sacchetti, and Lisa Rein. “How DHS Watchdog under Fire in Jan. 6 Investigation Pushed to Get His Post.” Washington Post, October 2, 2022. <>.

Sector(s): Border-Wide

Agency(ies): DHS

Event Type(s): Evading Oversight

Accountability Status: Unknown

Victim Classification: