Reforms to Help with the Department of Homeland Security Hiring

by | Mar 22, 2017

Last Updated August 16, 2022

hiringA few senators have introduced the Boots on the Border Act to help with the hiring process at Customs and Border Protection. The current process could take years to fill the 5,000 positions President Trump has called for. If passed, this bill would allow for a more efficient way of hiring in this agency.

CBP already has strict hiring policies, so this bill would loosen those by allowing certain groups of candidates to skip the polygraph section of the application process. Former federal employees who:

  • Served as law enforcement for at least three years,
  • Had authority to make arrests,
  • Conduct investigations and carry firearms, and
  • Previously passed a background check, would qualify to skip the polygraph.

Another authorization for exemption would be military personnel who are moving into civilian jobs. They would have to have served for at least four years and would also need a recent security clearance and would have to have departed the armed services with an honorable discharge.

State and local law enforcement officers in good standing, who took a polygraph as part of their initial application process, would also be able to skip the federal polygraph. The 2010 Anti-Border Corruption Act requires that all law enforcement hires for the CBP undergo a polygraph.

Senator John McCain (R-AZ) said his legislation would remove unnecessary obstacles. “We can’t effectively secure our southern border if we don’t have the manpower to get the job done. This legislation would address CBP’s chronic staffing shortage by streamlining background tests for qualified veterans, military service members, and law enforcement officers in good standing.”

However, there are still some potential pitfalls that exist. This new policy could further backup CBP’s hiring efforts. New hires will require computers, vehicles, guns, and offices. Additional mission support and legal personnel to assist the new staff would be needed as well.

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