Washington, DC – Congress is considering proposed legislation that could drastically shorten the length of time it takes for Customs and Border Protection to hire new agents.
U.S. Senator Martha McSally introduced the Anti-Border Corruption Improvement Act on March 7, and U.S. Representative Dan Crenshaw introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives, according to a press release.
The proposed legislation would eliminate polygraph testing for applicants with law enforcement or military backgrounds, slashing the current 274-318 days it typically takes to complete the 11-step hiring process.
A polygraph examination costs over $2,000 on average, and only one out of every three applicants is actually hired by the agency.
“That costs an average of more than $6,000 per CBP hire,” according to the release.
The exemption would apply to reservists, active duty troops, veterans, and law enforcement officers who meet specific requirements, The Washington Times reported.
Veterans and members of the military would need to have served for at least three years, and would also need to have held a security clearance within the past five years.
Law enforcement officers would also need to have served for at least three years, and would need to have undergone a background investigation as a requirement for their law enforcement position.
The background investigation would also have to be “to the level required for service as a law enforcement officer with U.S. Customs and Border Protection,” according to the proposed legislation.
“Our Customs and Border Protection agents are drastically undermanned, and this bill aims to help fix that,” Crenshaw said in the press release. “By eliminating the unnecessary and costly polygraph test for vetted applicants with military and law enforcement backgrounds, this legislation quickens the hiring process and eases the burden on applicants, CBP recruitment efforts, and the taxpayer.”
McSally noted that the bill would help to get much-needed agents to work more quickly.
“The men and women of Customs and Border Protection are some of the finest law enforcement professionals – but unfortunately there are simply not enough agents and officers to get the job done,” she said. “We need to streamline the hiring process while maintaining the same rigorous standards to get the additional help to our frontlines.”