Border patrol hiring is becoming a critical issue for the new administration. Thousands of positions remain vacant and the Department of Homeland Security plans to hire an additional 5,000 agents.
Jeff Flake and John McCain, both senators from Arizona, and Ron Jonhson, a senator from Wisconsin, are proposing a new bill named “Boots on the border act”. It aims at speeding up the recruitment process by waiving the polygraph test on those who have already taken it in the past.
According to them, some 1,768 Border Patrol agent jobs and 1,046 CBP officer jobs remain unfilled. And the new Trump administration wants to hire an additional 5,000 mostly to protect the Southern border.
This move doesn’t seem to find consensus in the Department of Homeland Security.
The acting Border Protection Commissioner Kevin K. McAleenan says he won’t cut corners on its standards requiring a polygraph test. But he is considering waivers for military veterans or federal law enforcement officers who are in good standing. On the other end, he doesn’t want to lower hiring standards. It occurred at the end of the Bush administration and it created problems.
The Lie Detector Test Depicted as Major Hurdle
The three senators that have introduced the new bill claim that federal, state or local police officers could be waived the lie-detector test. Those who have been on the job for three years have usually kept a clean record. And they have already cleared the polygraph. Furthermore, the bill would also allow veterans and retiring troops to skip a new polygraph. They would need the hold a valid security clearance and have passed a high-level background check for their current jobs.
Senator Flake says that it is difficult for people who have never used drugs to convince those who administer the test that they are clean.
“They are badgered again and again and again to try to get them to confess to things that they have never done.”
There are a lot of steps along the way were people lose interest or just don’t pass the process.
“There is a point at which you say, are we doing too much? Is there too much deterrent there for good people to apply?”
This position seems connected to the attempt of avoiding the construction of a wall. Some policy-makers believe that better border security only requires more personnel and better technologies.
Flake has a history of disagreeing with President Donald Trump and is trying to bolster his position for the 2018 election.