Customs and Border Protection Will Spend 300M to Hire 5,000 Guards

After facing pressure from President Donald Trump to hire five thousand new Border Patrol agents, Customs and Border Protection started to take desperate measures at a high cost to hire agents.

The agency will no longer ask applicants about prior illicit drug activity and will pay nearly 300 million dollars to the international professional services corporation Accenture to help with the hiring process as Border Patrol struggles to meet mandated minimum levels of staffing because of a notoriously low retention rate, Newsweek reports.

The company will be paid 42.6 million dollars the first year for assisting in the hiring of 5,000 Border Patrol agents, 2,000 customs officers and 500 agents for the Office of Air and Marine Operations. Naturally, there are numerous critics.

“They’re spending almost $40,000 per hire. Just off the bat that seems like a pretty desperate move,” Alex Nowrasteh, an immigration policy analyst at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank in Washington, said.

According to the Customs and Border Protection’s website, the base salary of an entry level Border Patrol agent is 40,511 dollars.

“Not unlike other major companies and organizations, we are expanding our recruiting and hiring efforts to find better, more effective ways to recruit, hire and retain frontline personnel. As such, CBP awarded a contract to Accenture Federal Services to augment our internal hiring capabilities,” Katrina Skinner, an agency spokesperson, said.

Unlike previous years, applicants now would not be obligated to answer questions about past illegal drug activity. The purpose of this move, according to James Tomsheck, chief of internal affairs for the border agency from 2006 to 2014, is to widen the applicant pool.

“Accuracy of the polygraph is compromised when you try to make it a less specific psychological test and that’s exactly what’s occurring,” Tomsheck told the Congressional Hispanic Caucus earlier this month.

He has accused the border agency of corruption. According to him, a lot of potential agents were failing the traditional polygraph because of questions about criminal drug activity.

About 55 to 65 percent of CBP law enforcement applicants failed to clear the polygraph. As Tomsheck explained, many of the applicants were previously engaged in serious felony crimes, involved with border-related criminal activity and some were even infiltrators directed by criminal organizations to seek employment at CBP. Associated Press reported that approximately two out of three applicants failed the traditional polygraph.

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