Border Patrol is losing more Agents faster than it can hire new ones
Last month, two reports from government watchdog agencies were released and stated that the Border Patrol is losing agents faster than it can hire new ones, while border and immigration enforcement agencies continue to face “significant challenges” in hiring and training new personnel. The reports were released separately by the inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security and the Government Accountability Office (GAO). However, both of the reports highlight the difficulties that federal agencies have with filling the ambitious hiring goals laid out by President Trump. President Trump signed an executive order in January that called for the hiring of 5,000 more Border Patrol agents and 10,000 officers for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The inspector general’s report stated,
Neither CBP nor ICE could provide complete data to support the operational need or deployment strategies for the 15,000 additional agents and officers they were directed to hire.
GAO auditors say the Border Patrol has fewer agents now than it is supposed to have under a 2011 congressional mandate, which required 21,370 agents. A report last year from the inspector general stated that it took about nine months to hire a single Border Patrol agent and about seven months to hire an ICE officer. But, as of this May, the agency had 1,870 fewer agents than it required and, unfortunately, agents are leaving faster than they can be replaced. Auditors say that between 2013 and 2016 the Border Patrol hired an average of 523 agents each year, but an average of 904 leave. The reasons for agents leaving include better pay at competing agencies, a hiring process that requires applicants to pass a polygraph exam and assignments that often send new agents to remote locations along the border. Hopefully, more people apply for both agencies so that those empty positions can be filled.