Trump administration seeks to loosen hiring requirements to beef up Border Patrol

Customs and Border Protection, part of DHS, is seeking approval to relax some stringent standards that have made it difficult for the agency to meet recruitment targets in recent years. That includes a request to potentially loosen congressionally-mandated requirements such as a polygraph, as well as an entrance exam and background check.

According to the five-page, Feb. 17 memo from CBP Acting Commissioner Kevin McAleenan, changes to hiring standards are urgently needed if the agency is to expand as now planned from 19,627 Border Patrol agents to about 26,370. One former DHS official said the current requirements, especially the lie-detector test, are “insanely cumbersome,” and a big reason the agency has trouble recruiting compared with other law-enforcement agencies and even other immigration bodies within DHS, such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement…

And some current and former DHS officials and outside experts are concerned that lowering standards could allow the influx of less-qualified candidates who may be susceptible to corruption. CBP is uniquely targeted by drug-trafficking and other transnational organizations seeking out agents they can bribe — with money or sexual favors — to allow drugs, undocumented immigrants, or other contraband across the U.S.-Mexico border.