Hiring New Border Patrol and ICE Agents May be Tough

Mar 28, 2017

President Trump wants to hire 5,000 more Border Patrol agents and 10,000 more Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents, but federal law enforcement officer representatives told lawmakers that their organizations have too many managers and not enough staff-level employees.

High Attrition Rates and Hiring Challenges

The CBP and ICE have consistently been ranked as two of the worst places to work in the federal government, as far as employee morale goes. The CPB has a yearly attrition rate of about 6 percent and they estimate that to hire 5,000 more agents, they will need to bring about 2,700 new agents onboard every year for the next 5 years.

“We lose 1,000 agents per year because they don’t like to work for the border patrol. We already have this high attrition rate, and on top of that, in a couple of years, we’re going to start seeing the people we hired in the mid-90’s start retiring,” Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, said.

The Prolonged Hiring Process

Tony Reardon, president of the National Treasury Employees Union (representing more than 25,000 frontline CBP officers) told lawmakers that the CBP suffers from a prolonged hiring process that can take up to 18 months. He also said he’s heard horror stories where applicants must go to an interview in one location and then up to a month later go to another part of the country for another interview, and pay their own way getting there. He went on to say that it usually takes 105-150 applicants to generate one new hire. Few people have the luxury of waiting around for up to a year and a half before being brought on board.

Some agents, once hired, get sent to border posts far away from their families on temporary duty assignments which contributes to the low morale.

ICE’s Leadershiping

Chris Crane, president of the National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council, told lawmakers, “We enthusiastically support the additional officers identified in President Trump’s executive order on interior enforcement. However, we have little faith in the ability of ICE leadership to most effectively implement the additional staff. As with DHS in general, ICE is suffering from a toxic and failed management culture and absolute absence of leadership.”

Last year, ICE ranked 6th from the bottom in the FEVS survey, in 2015 they were 2nd to last, and in 2014 they were dead last. CBP continues to also rank near the bottom on the employee satisfaction survey.


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