FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 14, 2002
Magda Lynn Seymour
John Irvine
(202) 639-6419

Contractor Sent VISAS to Terrorists

(WASHINGTON, D.C.)—Federal employees working in the Immigration & Naturalization Service (INS) should not be held responsible for the visas that were mailed to terrorists, says the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE).

AFGE, which represents 24,000 INS employees, is outraged and also not surprised that the Affiliated Computer Services (ACS), Inc., sent Mohamed Atta and Marwan Alshehhi student visas six months after they hijacked two airplanes and fatally flew them into the World Trade Center.

Representatives Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.) and James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) wrongfully say the INS is to blame, employees and all, instead of the contractor. Tancredo called the INS “completely and totally dysfunctional” and “the Mickey Mouse Club of federal agencies.” Sensenbrenner said the mailing of the visas “shows once again the complete incompetence of the immigration service to enforce our laws and protect our borders.”

“There are two worlds in the federal workforce—the world of unaccountable contractors, such as ACS, and the world of dedicated federal employees,” said AFGE National President Bobby L. Harnage. “And, the only Mickey Mouse Club I am aware of are the Goofy’s in Congress who continue to blindly support the privatization of the federal government for campaign contributions and increased profit margins for corporations at the expense of taxpayers.”

“Experienced INS workers who have been working 12-hour shifts to fight the war on terrorism should not be wrongly accused for a contractors’ serious error,” added Harnage.

ACS, which is headquartered in Dallas, has over 900 federal contracts in 21 agencies that total more than $380 million dollars, according to 2000 figures. According to a corporate profile, the company’s aggressive growth strategy has resulted in its acquisition of more than 50 companies since its 1988 inception, including its $825 million purchase of Lockheed Martin's IMS subsidiary.

AFGE is the largest union for government employees, representing 600,000 federal workers in the United States and the District of Columbia. For more information on AFGE, visit www.afge.org.

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