Border patrol losing agents faster than it can replace them

A new audit by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) says the Border Patrol is losing agents faster than it can hire replacements.  The agency is short about 2,000 officers, with the shortages most acute in Texas and California.

Washington Times:

More than 900 agents leave each year on average but the Border Patrol only hires an average of 523 a year, the Government Accountability Office said in a broad survey of staffing and deployment challenges at the key border law enforcement agency.

The law requires the agency to have a minimum of 21,370 agents on board, but it had just 19,500 agents as of May.

That's an even bigger problem when stacked up against President Trump's call for hiring 5,000 more agents, to reach a workforce of 26,370.

Managers blamed everything from remote working conditions to competition with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the interior immigration agency that's also staffing up, for difficulty in filling out ranks.

Another roadblock to hiring more agents is the high incidence of failure of recruits to pass a lie-detector test.  Border patrol agents are especially vulnerable to bribery by the cartels and coyotes who smuggle drugs and illegals across the border, so hiring agents who can resist the bribery is important.

"Illegal crossers and drug smugglers may sometimes travel near or through communities and private property in areas that are not along the immediate the border, prior to being apprehended by Border Patrol," the GAO said.

Agents often-times end up trailing smugglers and illegal immigrants across the private property, adding to the damage, the audit said, including a photo of a mangled driveway gate attributed to illegal immigrants in Texas.

There is no doubt that border patrol officers are among the least glamorous federal law enforcement positions and offer unusual hardships.  They must live in out-of-the-way places – by definition, locations with few people and a lot of desert.  Hours are long, and rewards are few.

But the study also found that local law enforcement officials were generally happy with having the border patrol around.  That kind of cooperation is vitally necessary if we are ever going to get control of the border.

A new audit by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) says the Border Patrol is losing agents faster than it can hire replacements.  The agency is short about 2,000 officers, with the shortages most acute in Texas and California.

Washington Times:

More than 900 agents leave each year on average but the Border Patrol only hires an average of 523 a year, the Government Accountability Office said in a broad survey of staffing and deployment challenges at the key border law enforcement agency.

The law requires the agency to have a minimum of 21,370 agents on board, but it had just 19,500 agents as of May.

That's an even bigger problem when stacked up against President Trump's call for hiring 5,000 more agents, to reach a workforce of 26,370.

Managers blamed everything from remote working conditions to competition with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the interior immigration agency that's also staffing up, for difficulty in filling out ranks.

Another roadblock to hiring more agents is the high incidence of failure of recruits to pass a lie-detector test.  Border patrol agents are especially vulnerable to bribery by the cartels and coyotes who smuggle drugs and illegals across the border, so hiring agents who can resist the bribery is important.

"Illegal crossers and drug smugglers may sometimes travel near or through communities and private property in areas that are not along the immediate the border, prior to being apprehended by Border Patrol," the GAO said.

Agents often-times end up trailing smugglers and illegal immigrants across the private property, adding to the damage, the audit said, including a photo of a mangled driveway gate attributed to illegal immigrants in Texas.

There is no doubt that border patrol officers are among the least glamorous federal law enforcement positions and offer unusual hardships.  They must live in out-of-the-way places – by definition, locations with few people and a lot of desert.  Hours are long, and rewards are few.

But the study also found that local law enforcement officials were generally happy with having the border patrol around.  That kind of cooperation is vitally necessary if we are ever going to get control of the border.

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