In an effort to make it easier to recruit new applicants, the Border Patrol is reportedly considering dropping the requirement that new hires pass a polygraph test.
U.S. President Donald Trump called for the requirement to be axed as he faces an almost immediate need to recruit new Border Patrol agents to support his crackdown on unauthorized immigration. The president has ordered the agency to recruit 5,000 new hires in the next five years.
According to the Wall Street Journal, as it stands, the agency is evaluating several potential changes to its hiring procedures.
Apparently, the lie detector test has been a big issue for Border Patrol recruits, as “roughly 60% of all applicants fail the polygraph now in use. Other changes being considered include giving U.S. Customs and Border Protection broad authority over background checks for applicants and extending the probationary period for new agents to two years.”
This was confirmed by Border Patrol Chief Ronald Vitiello on Wednesday when he said that,“the polygraph has given us a difficult time. Not a lot of people are passing.”
Although proponents of the legislation, including the three senators that proposed it — Jeff Flake, John McCain, and Ron Johnson — say that it could address hiring shortfalls, it has also raised concerns for many that new hires would not be vetted thoroughly.
When hiring at an agency routinely targeted by drug cartels, smugglers and other criminals, this is of critical importance.
California Sen. Kamala Harris has been outspoken in her opposition of the legislation, saying, “If they actually can’t meet the standards, it doesn’t mean we lower the standards to get a larger number who can meet them.”
Despite the backlash, U.S. Customs and Border Protection insisted that the new procedures would not lower the bar for new hires.
Apparently Trump’s so-called ‘extreme vetting’ only applies to those fleeing from violence, and not to anyone who wants to get a job under this administration.