President Trump’s agenda includes bringing on nearly 26,000 new immigration personnel over the next several years. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is looking to contract with a private sector consultant to help.
This request for information (RFI) comes at a time when Customs and Border Protection was recently issued a contract valued at $297 million in support of its own hiring push. CBP’s contract asks for only 30% of the employees ICE is looking to hire.
The ICE RFI looks for support in bringing on 2,500 workers the first year of the contract starting March 2018. The contract has 4 option years. The first 3, the selected company would help ICE hire 7,000 new employees annually. The final year, beginning March 2022, ICE would bring on 2,200 new workers.
In FY2017, ICE hired just 1,557 new employees across all positions.
An ICE spokeswoman, Danielle Bennett, said ICE received authority to use direct hiring and dual compensation waivers and has made general improvements to its hiring processes. She said these changes will allow ICE to “meet the anticipated unprecedented hiring numbers in the coming years”.
The contractor’s responsibilities would include recruitment and staffing, payroll support, processing support, classification and position management, benefits support, and general administrative assistance. They will also develop “multiple recruitment strategies”, draft vacancy announcements, review applications to determine qualifications, assist hiring managers in their reviews, and determine pay rates for job offers.
The Immigration and Customs Enforcement Contract
The total length of the contract won’t exceed 66 months. The value of the contract may lessen as duties are assumed by Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s human resource team or hiring requirements cease.
Trump requested a 10,000-capacity surge in ICE workforce, however, ICE is asking for assistance in hiring 25,700 employees. The agency currently employs 20,000 total staff. This mandated hiring surge is set to take place entirely within ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations. The RFI would boost hiring both at that office and support staff for new enforcement agents.
ICE officials said in a recap of the agency’s FY2017 actions that it was making positive progress on fulfilling Trump’s hiring order. The House approved a FY2018 spending bill that would provide $186.5 million for ICE to boost its ranks by 1,000 agents.
A leaked document required DHS to onboard 2,000 ICE agents in the year despite DHS’s suggestion to hire only 1,000. The Border Patrol hasn’t met Trump’s hiring requirement. They brought on 1,477 frontline personnel in 2017, however, most were for Customs Officer positions instead of BP agents.
A spending bill for FY2017 cut CBP workforce spending by $200 million. DHS inspector general estimated, based on current hiring and attrition rates, CBP would need 750,000 applications to fill Trump’s order.
The agency is also adjusting its polygraph exam, changing its physical fitness test and reforming its training process in hopes their hiring rate improves. Their average application processing time has decreased from 400 days in 2014 to 160 days today.
Accenture Federal Services
CBP selected Accenture Federal Services for its contract. The agreement is for one base year and 4 option years. They will work together to hire 7,500 employees: 5,000 BP agents, 2,000 Immigration & Customs Officers, and 500 Air and Marine Officers. Accenture will provide “expert market research, data analytics, and recruitment and advertising expertise aimed at applicants for law enforcement opportunities”.
In 2016, DHS had Accenture assist with the Transportation Security Administration in hiring 8,000-10,000 employees annually.
Jennifer Gabris, a CBP spokeswoman said, “changing generational values”, the legalization of marijuana in some places, and a “growing distrust” of law enforcement have contributed to the agency’s hiring woes. She also noted that CBP’s hiring standards are complex and justified a “significant investment”.
“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,” Gabris said. “As such, CBP awarded a contract to Accenture Federal Services to augment our internal hiring capabilities.”
She said the agency is optimistic about its staffing goals and would “pursue further innovation” in addition to this contract.