Remember when, earlier this year, President Trump signed an executive order to “improve border security and immigration enforcement”? Most of the attention was focused on Trump’s plan to build a billion-dollar border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. In that same executive order, Trump called for the hiring of 10,000 new Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers, as well as 5,000 new Border Patrol agents.
Months later, the Department of Homeland Security says it is having trouble finding enough qualified recruits to fill those positions. A July report from the DHS Office of the Inspector General says ICE and the Border Patrol are “facing significant challenges in identifying, recruiting, hiring, and fielding the number of law enforcement officers mandated in the Executive Orders.” How significant? According to the report, ICE would need 500,000 people to apply in order for them to fill 10,000 positions with people who qualify.
ICE and CBP have a two-year window to fill the positions, and according to CBS News, the Border Patrol is getting creative with its recruiting efforts. Border Patrol recruiters are now attending country fairs, Spartan Races, and country music festivals in an effort to find applicants. The Border Patrol recently had a recruiting booth at the WE Fest in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota. Among the performers: Luke Bryan, Zac Brown Band, Lady Antebellum and Alan Jackson. It appears the Border Patrol is recruiting at events where they can find Trump supporters who support the President’s immigration policies.
Although the Border Patrol’s new recruiting tactics may lead to an increase in applicants, it doesn’t guarantee they’ll get enough people who qualify for the gig. According to CBS News, 75 percent of recruits fail the required polygraph test. And the last time the Border Patrol made a big push to recruit — right after 9/11 — polygraph testing wasn’t yet implemented, which led to an increase of corruption and excessive violence within the agency, CBS News reports.