Border Patrol Losing Agents Faster Than it Can Hire New Ones, Govt. Reports Show

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Two new reports from government watchdog agencies say the Border Patrol is losing agents faster than it can hire new ones, and that border and immigration enforcement agencies face “significant challenges” in hiring and training new personnel.

Border Patrol agents Edgar Cano and Richard Schweitzer, left, take shoelaces from unaccompanied minor Darwin, 11, who crossed the Rio Grande on a raft in Hidalgo, Texas, in March. (Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Border Patrol agents Edgar Cano and Richard Schweitzer, left, take shoelaces from unaccompanied minor Darwin, 11, who crossed the Rio Grande on a raft in Hidalgo, Texas, in March. (Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

The reports from the inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security and the Government Accountability Office were released separately over the last week. Both highlight the difficulties that federal agencies have filling the ambitious hiring goals laid out by President Trump.

In a January executive order Trump called for hiring 5,000 more Border Patrol agents and 10,000 officers for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Both agencies are key components of the administration’s crackdown on illegal immigration and desire to bulk up border security.

The GAO report examined how the Border Patrol deploys agents and the effectiveness of checkpoints it staffs. Auditors say the agency has fewer agents now than it is supposed to have under a 2011 congressional mandate, which required 21,370 agents.

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