DHS may relax hiring requirements to meet border agent goal: report

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The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is looking to relax hiring requirements for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials in order to comply with President Trump’s call for additional immigration officials.

According to memos written by CBP acting Commissioner Kevin McAleenan and obtained by Foreign Policy, CBP may need to alter its employment process in order to increase the number of agents from 19,627 to 26,370.

“We do face headwinds,” McAleenan told the magazine in an interview, though he refused to speak about the memos.

“Secretary Kelly has made it absolutely clear we are not going to lower standards to speed up our hiring,” he added, referencing Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly.

{mosads}A senior DHS official from former President Obama’s administration reviewed the memos for the magazine, concluding that the document indicates the changes are necessary to meet calls for an increased number of agents.

“Most of the measures are worded in terms that look neutral on their face,” Stephen Legomsky told Foreign Policy. “But because all of that is prefaced with how they need to make changes for the express purpose of enhancing their hiring ability, then obviously these things are meant to loosen those standards, not to tighten them.”

The memo says that with the proposed changes, which include waiving some polygraph requirements, it would cost $2.2 billion over the course of five years to hire the number of officials Trump has called for.

Trump last month signed an executive order calling for the DHS to begin construction of a wall on the United States’s border with Mexico.

McAleenan in the memo said that CBP is also looking at relaxing the entrance exam and background investigations.

“We’d like to have the flexibility to make those decisions, instead of having every single person who applies be subject to the polygraph,” he said. “But we’re going to make those decisions very carefully in balancing the risk against the benefits.”

Tags Barack Obama Department of Homeland Security

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