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Customs and Border Protection is getting better at attracting and hiring job applicants, but the agency still faces thousands of vacancies in its law enforcement ranks, according to a recent Government Accountability Office report.
The report said that the number of Border Patrol agents actually fell from 2013 to 2017, at a time when the government was increasing the number of agent positions.
“It’s a huge deal, especially now,” said Art Del Cueto, vice president of the Southwest chapter of the National Border Patrol Council. “Now you have less agents… when you’re by yourself it’s easier for agents to be attacked.”
The article goes on to state the following:
The report said staffing for BP agents, who patrol between ports of entry, was 6,933 agents short of the authorized level of more than 26,000 for fiscal 2017. Staffing for officers, who work at the border crossings, was 1,100 employees below the target level of more than 24,000 for that year.
Those shortfalls come despite steep gains in the number of new applicants, with the GAO reporting that the number of applications to the agency overall tripled from fiscal 2013 to 2017. Applications to Border Patrol agent positions increased from 27,000 applications in 2013 to more than 91,000 in 2017, while CBP officer applications increased from 22,500 in 2013 to 85,000 in 2017, according to the report.
In a statement, the agency attributed the increase to an aggressive effort to target untapped areas for new hires.
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