Why Hasn’t President Trump Been Able To Hire More Border Control Agents?

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Dear Readers, We’re in the wrong business. There is not one of my blogging family who couldn’t have done better than this private firm, Accenture Federal Service which has been contracted by the US government to oversee the hiring of agents for  the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency. This private consulting company has been paid  a whopping $13.6 million since October 2018 for the placement of two agents.

There’s a reason that CBP Customs and Border Protection agents have to undergo a rigorous vetting process as many of these agents have to operate under isolated conditions where the criminal element, those drug, human traffickers would be more than willing to resort to bribery.

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But we, as the taxpayers, have a simple solution. To increase the amount of applicants that could pass muster, simply increase the annual starting salary from $52,583  to about $75,000 to $105,000.

Isn’t it terrible that I have to wonder how this private company Accenture Federal Service was awarded this lucrative contract? I predict a future US Congressional oversight committee hearing regarding it.

As per a 12/11/2018 NPR report by Vanessa Romo, “A scathing report by the Office of the Inspector General revealed that a consulting company hired by U.S. Customs and Border Protection to fill thousands of new jobs to satisfy President Trump’s mandate to secure the southern border is “nowhere near” completing its hiring goals and “risks wasting millions of taxpayer dollars.”

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“The audit found that as of Oct. 1, CBP had paid Accenture Federal Services approximately $13.6 million of a $297 million contract to recruit and hire 7,500 applicants, including Customs and Border Protection officers, Border Patrol agents, and Air and Marine Interdiction agents. But 10 months into the first year of a five-year contract, Accenture had processed only “two accepted job offers,” according to the report.”

“The inspector general called for immediate action. The report is titled “Management Alert — CBP Needs to Address Serious Performance Issues on the Accenture Hiring Contract.” It alleges the consulting company — which CBP agreed to pay nearly $40,000 per hire — failed to develop an “efficient, innovative, and expertly run hiring process,” as the company pledged to do when it was awarded the lucrative contract. Instead, the probe concluded the company “relied heavily” on CBP’s existing infrastructure, resources and experts in all of its recruiting.”

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Here’s the rest of the story…

On January 27, 2019, Molly O’Toole of the LA Times penned the following report, “Trump ordered 15,000 new border and immigration officers — but got thousands of vacancies instead”

Excerpts:

“Two years after President Trump signed orders to hire 15,000 new border agents and immigration officers, the administration has spent tens of millions of dollars in the effort — but has thousands more vacancies than when it began.”

“In a sign of the difficulties, Customs and Border Protection allocated $60.7 million to Accenture Federal Services, a management consulting firm, as part of a $297-million contract to recruit, vet and hire 7,500 border officers over 5 years, but the company has produced only 33 new hires so far.”

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“The president’s promised hiring surge steadily lost ground even as he publicly hammered away at the need for stiffer border security, warned of a looming migrant invasion and shut down parts of the government for five weeks over his demands for $5.7 billion from Congress for a border wall.”

“The Border Patrol gained a total of 120 agents in 2018, the first net gain in 5 years.”

“But the agency has come nowhere close to adding more than 2,700 agents annually, the rate that Kevin McAleenan, commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, has said is necessary to meet Trump’s mandated 26,370 border agents by the end of 2021.”

“The hiring surge has not begun,” the inspector general’s office at the Department of Homeland Security concluded last November.”

“We have had ongoing difficulties with regards to hiring levels to meet our operational needs,” a Homeland Security official told The Times on Saturday, speaking on condition of anonymity. “

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“Border security agencies long have faced challenges with recruitment and retention of front-line federal law enforcement — in particular Border Patrol agents — much less swiftly hiring 15,000 more.”

“In March 2017, McAleenan said Customs and Border Protection normally loses about 1,380 agents a year as agents retire, quit for better-paying jobs or move. Just filling that hole each year has strained resources.”

“Beyond that, given historically low illegal immigration on the southern border, even the Homeland Security inspector general has questioned the need for the surge.”

“But administration officials argue an immigration system designed for single, adult Mexican men has become woefully outdated.”

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“The number of families and children we are apprehending at the border is at record-breaking levels,” another Homeland Security official said. “It’s having a dramatic impact on Border Patrol’s border security mission.”

“Since 2015, CBP officers have been required to work overtime and sent on temporary assignments to “critically understaffed” points on the southwest border, Tony Reardon, president of the union representing about 30,000 CBP officers, told the House Homeland Security Committee on Thursday (1/25/19).”

“After fighting for years for higher pay, staff and a better hiring process, Reardon said the agency needs to hire more officers for the 328 ports of entry.”

“All of this contributes to a stronger border,” he said.”

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“On Jan. 25, 2017, five days after Trump was inaugurated, he signed executive orders to hire 5,000 new Border Patrol agents and 10,000 more Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers, vowing to beef up border security and crack down on illegal immigration.”

“Today the United States of America gets back control of its borders,” Trump said as he signed the orders.”

“Today, Customs and Border Protection — the Border Patrol’s parent agency — has more than 3,000 job vacancies, according to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office.”

“That’s about 2,000 more than when Trump signed the orders, according to a Government Accountability Office report on CBP’s hiring challenges.”

“Border Patrol staffing remains below the 21,360 agents mandated by Congress in 2016, which is itself 5,000 less than Trump’s order, according to the latest available data.”

“The CBP contract with Accenture, awarded in November 2017, has drawn special scrutiny for its high cost and limited results.”

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“CBP officials told the House Homeland Security Committee in November that only 33 new officers had been hired. Under the terms of the contract, the company is paid about $40,000 for each one.”

“An entry-level Border Patrol agent is paid $52,583 a year.”

“In December (2018), the Homeland Security inspector general’s office said Accenture and CBP were “nowhere near” filling the president’s hiring order.”

“It warned that if problems in the “hastily approved” contract are not addressed, CBP risks“wasting millions of taxpayer dollars.”

“CBP subsequently scaled back the Accenture contract from $297 million to $83 million and issued a partial stop-work order. Officials said the agency will decide in March (2019) whether to cancel the rest of the contract.”

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“Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said the problem-plagued contract “reinforces my doubts” about CBP leadership.”

“CBP cannot simply farm out its hiring and spend hundreds of millions without addressing systemic problems at the agency,” Thompson said.”

“Officials could not “provide complete data to support the operational need or deployment strategies for the additional 15,000 additional agents and officers they were directed to hire,” the inspector general’s office wrote.”

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“On Friday (1/25/2019), Trump signed a bill to reopen the government until Feb. 15, ending the longest shutdown in U.S. history. Tens of thousands of Border Patrol agents and CBP officers, among others, worked without pay.”

“Drug cartels and other criminal groups target Border Patrol agents, offering bribes or even sexual favors to allow migrants, drugs and other contraband to cross the border.”

“Border Patrol (have) set strict vetting requirements, but those measures have slowed the hiring process.”

“Border Patrol applicants must pass cognitive, fitness and medical exams. They also must provide financial disclosure, undergo drug tests and pass a law enforcement background check and a polygraph test.”

“CBP’s rigorous hiring requirements, including the polygraph test, were put in place by Congress in 2010 after the agency had doubled in size and Border Patrol notched an increase in corruption and a spate of deadly incidents.”

Link to entire report: LA times.com

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