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US Customs and Border Protection photo, hup! hup! hup!

Donald Trump didn't just promise WALL in 2016. He also promised he was going to put Homeland Security on a hiring binge, because while government is unnecessary, having lots of ICE and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents is absolutely necessary to Make America White Again.

Yeah, this is the part where we tell you the two agencies actually have fewer agents now than when Trump signed the executive order asking for 15,000 new immigration cops, as the Los Angeles Times reported Sunday. Surprise! But at least CBP paid an assload of money -- $60.7 million! -- to a consulting firm to hire thousands of new agents. But actually the company only scraped up 33 new agents, and we suspect at least one or two of them were actually cardboard standees of Charles Bronson in the 1980 movie Borderline. Whaddya want to bet the interviews were all carried out in meeting rooms at Trump hotels? (We're just guessing, there.)


Still, hiring for CBP is looking up overall! 2018 was the first time in five years the agency actually had a net increase of agents, with a total of 120 new hires. It's a bit underwhelming as far as "hiring surges" go:

But the agency has come nowhere close to adding more than 2,700 agents annually, the rate that Kevin McAleenan, commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, has said is necessary to meet Trump's mandated 26,370 border agents by the end of 2021. [...]

"We have had ongoing difficulties with regards to hiring levels to meet our operational needs," a Homeland Security official told The Times on Saturday, speaking on condition of anonymity. He described the Border Patrol's gain last year as a "a huge improvement."

Thank Crom Trump's panicky rhetoric about the US being overwhelmed by a huge invading army of 8-foot-tall MS-13 gangbangers driving through the desert in unstoppable Mad Max rigs is all bullshit. Otherwise, that failure to ramp up CBP staffing in accordance with the goal might be something to worry about. As it is, it's merely wasteful and incompetent, plus maybe a little deadly to little children with medical issues. It's not like they're human.

Fortunately, illegal immigration is at some of the lowest rates in 20 years, and even the Homeland Security's Inspector General questioned the need for a buildup. But Trump needs it to be a crisis, so we need THOUSANDS more Border Patrol agents.

Also, as McAleenan pointed out in 2017, building up the Border Patrol is a tad tricky, since CBP loses about 1,380 agents a year to retirement and agents finding other jobs. A few, we suppose, may even just decide to walk away from Omelas. But all that attrition makes a "surge" difficult to get going. One source told the Times the changing demographics of the immigrant population makes more agents necessary. CBP was built to handle single men from Mexico who came to the US for short-term work, but now just look at all these damn refugees saying they deserve refuge!

"The number of families and children we are apprehending at the border is at record-breaking levels," another Homeland Security official said. "It's having a dramatic impact on Border Patrol's border security mission."

Remember, though, it's only a "record" for families and children -- overall undocumented entry to the USA is way down. And yes, the Border Patrol union insists agents have to pull lots of overtime at some "critically understaffed" parts of the border -- not that we necessarily trust that crowd of fascist thumbheads. As we've noted several times, the ports of entry don't necessarily need more cops, but they're in dire need of asylum officers and immigration judges.

All in all, Trump is simply not making much headway on his January 2017 executive order to hire 5,000 Border Patrol agents and another 10,000 new officers for ICE (which handles arrests and deportations outside the border area). You might even say it's laughably bad.

Today, Customs and Border Protection — the Border Patrol's parent agency — has more than 3,000 job vacancies, according to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office.

That's about 2,000 more than when Trump signed the orders, according to a Government Accountability Office report on CBP's hiring challenges.

Oh, and how about that fancy recruiting contract! Headhunting consultant Accenture Federal Services was awarded a $297-million contract to bring in 7,500 new agents over five years. The actual performance was a bit less impressive: Just the 33 new hires, although as an incentive, Accenture does get a $44,000 per head bonus, which is pretty generous! An entry-level Border Patrol agent's annual salary is just $52,583 in salary, plus we assume a modest allowance for head-waxing and mustache maintenance. After criticism from DHS's Inspector General, CBP "subsequently scaled back the Accenture contract from $297 million to $83 million and issued a partial stop-work order" -- the $60 million is what's been spent so far -- and may cancel it altogether. So let's see, that would be a bargain price of just $1.8 million per new agent, which seems like a reasonable price to get new agents, particularly the ones fashioned of gold.

The Times notes that hiring new Border Patrol agents has been at least slowed due to congressional skepticism about the need for a surge, resulting in smaller than hoped-for appropriations. Also, the process is particularly challenging because in 2010, Congress told CBP to screen people a bit better. You see, another hiring surge in the late Twenty-Oughts had brought in a bunch of assholes who turned out to be both corrupt and trigger-happy, which made for a bad look. So far, CBP hasn't been successful in requesting a bit more laxity, so there are probably a whole bunch of willing applicants being excluded for dumb things like felonies and illiteracy.

Heck, if it weren't for all that bureaucracy, we bet the comment sections of Breitbart alone would yield thousands of applicants.

[LAT]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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