A federal agency that oversees taxpayer-funded news outlets around the globe is begging staff, which includes journalists, to help process the massive wave of migrants coming across the U.S.-Mexico border, according to an internal email obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation.
“I am excited to share an opportunity for you to serve on a detail with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as a member of their Volunteer Force,” U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM) Acting Chief Executive Officer Kelu Chao wrote to agency employees in the email, offering volunteer assignments in California, Texas and Arizona. “As U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) continues to encounter large numbers of individuals along our Southwest Border, DHS needs your assistance to help ensure our nation has a safe, orderly, and humane immigration system.”
Some of USAGM’s reporters have covered stories on the southern border, which presents a potential “conflict of interest” with the DHS program, a USAGM employee, who was not authorized to speak publicly, told the DCNF. (RELATED: Meet The Man Orchestrating The Endless Torrent Of Migrant Caravans Heading Toward The Border)
“Any USAGM journalists who do volunteer, and later produce stories about the migrants at the border, will obviously have a conflict of interest,” the USAGM employee said. The agency is composed of six entities, such as Voice of America (VOA), in order “to inform, engage and connect people around the world in support of freedom and democracy.”
However, USAGM Director of Public Affairs Laurie Moy told the DCNF that applicants will be screened for any potential conflicts of interest.
“The referenced message was shared with all USAGM staff inviting all U.S. federal employees to apply. Any application received will be screened, and any potential conflict of interest will be identified,” Moy said.
During his tenure, USAGM’s former CEO Michael Pack raised alarms about foreign adversaries potentially exploiting the agency’s access to the U.S. government, according to NPR. In March, VOA began “thoroughly reviewing” stories an alleged Russian spy wrote for the outlet, according to the Washington Free Beacon.
“It’s a great place to put a foreign spy,” Pack, who was heavily criticized for ousting many journalists from USAGM, previously said, NPR reported.
“Over the last year, nearly 1,400 personnel — including from USAGM — have answered that call by supporting personnel along the Southwest Border and helping to resettle thousands of vulnerable Afghan nationals. Once again, there is a need to tap into the federal government’s greatest resource: the skills of our talented and diverse workforce. Today, I ask you to consider stepping forward to support the DHS Volunteer Force,” the email stated.
The assignments last up to 60 days, and volunteers will continue to receive their current pay, according to a USAJobs posting linked in the email. During the deployments, volunteers will support DHS with tasks that include assisting officers with processing migrants, meal prep and basic housekeeping, according to an attachment sent in Chao’s email.
The assignment comes with no promotion opportunity, according to the job posting.
Another federal agency, the Department of Health and Human Services, sought volunteers from other departments to support its efforts at the southern border, VOA reported in March 2021.
UPDATE: This article has been updated to include comment from USAGM.
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