Stalwart and Contentious Border Patrol Union President Announces His Departure

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Today, Border Patrol Local Union President Joseph N. Dassaro announced his departure from Local 1613 of the National Border Patrol Council and the United States Border Patrol. Mr. Dassaro, a thirteen-year veteran of the agency and ten-year veteran of Border Patrol union leadership, is best known for his strong leadership style and public candor regarding border security issues.

Mr. Dassaro, a native New Yorker, began his career with the United States Border Patrol in 1992 at the Imperial Beach Border Patrol Station in San Diego. As a field agent, Mr. Dassaro worked in various capacities including the Border Patrol Criminal Alien Program (B.O.R.C.A.P.) and field level intelligence. In late 1995, following dissatisfaction with the local chapter of the Border Patrol Agent’s Union, he became involved in union affairs. In 1996, the Border Patrol promoted Mr. Dassaro to the position of Senior Patrol Agent and awarded him an Outstanding Performance Rating. Later that same year, he and one other union official were responsible for initiating the largest investigation into the United States Border Patrol, later dubbed The Gatekeeper Investigation by internal affairs. In 1996, union members overwhelmingly elected Mr. Dassaro to his first union office. Throughout the next ten years, he was re-elected to various offices, making him one of the longest standing local union officers in the history of the National Border Patrol Council. Most recently, he held the position of President for five consecutive years. In 1998, Mr. Dassaro launched a controversial satirical Internet website exposing inadequate and dangerous hiring practices of the agency; hiring practices later proven true and only remedied through public and union pressure.

During his union tenure, Mr. Dassaro was responsible for transforming a dilapidated and stagnant organization into one of the most technically advanced and responsive labor organizations in the history of federal labor unions. In 1995, Mr. Dassaro modernized the command structure of the union providing unprecedented authority to field level representatives. In 1996, he launched one of the first federal union websites. Also in 1996, Mr. Dassaro was responsible for deploying emerging information technologies to all levels of union operations. In 1997, he established an unprecedented public relations outreach program, for the first time lifting the veil of secrecy surrounding the job of Border Patrol Agents. In 1998, Mr. Dassaro tightly integrated union operations with specialized legal counsel, forming a partnership with the law firm of Gattey and Baranic, LLP based in San Diego, CA. During his tenure as president, Mr. Dassaro also authorized a number of profile high-legal actions against the Border Patrol to protect First Amendment and medical privacy rights of Border Patrol Agents. During that same period, Mr. Dassaro was instrumental in associating the local union with the Peace Officers research Association of California (P.O.R.A.C.), providing legal coverage to all union members.

Recently, Mr. Dassaro integrated a comprehensive Intranet with union operations for all union locals throughout the southwestern United States, servicing hundreds of union representatives and over five-thousand employees. In combination, the deployment of information technologies by Local 1613 represents the most advanced use of technology by any union in the public or private sector to date. Finally, Mr. Dassaro’s vision of a comprehensive, locally administered legal services plan for Border Patrol Agents was realized after successful negotiations with the law firm of Gattey and Baranic, LLP and subsidy assistance from the National Border Patrol Council, the parent organization. According to Mr. Dassaro, “The new legal services plan will prove vital in protecting Border Patrol Agents from new draconian personnel systems designed to provide greater ‘managerial flexibility’ and stifling of public disclosure through the forfeiture of established civil service protections.”

Mr. Dassaro will be leaving the National Border Patrol Council and U.S. Border Patrol for a position as a Labor Management Relations Specialist with a government agency. He, his wife Kathy, and daughter Taylor –Nicole, will relocate to the mid-south in May of this year. Mr. Dassaro plans to continue writing and commenting on matters of public interest where his inside knowledge will contribute to the public debate. Additionally, he is working on a book, which will provide landmark insight into the United States Border Patrol and its institutional deficiencies, both pre and post Homeland Security Act. If you wish to contact Joseph N. Dassaro or find out more, please visit him at:

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Christopher Bauder
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