The Border Patrol launched a national recruiting campaign Friday, with plans to hire up to 2,100 new agents in the next 15 months.
Most of the agents will be deployed to the nation’s southern border, where the bulk of illegal immigration and drug smuggling occurs, Border Patrol Chief David Aguilar told Government Executive.
The hiring surge is being made possible by new funding from Congress. Lawmakers in recent months have expressed increasing concern about illegal immigration and border security. In May, Congress approved funding to hire 500 new Border Patrol agents as part of the fiscal 2005 emergency war supplemental for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
President Bush asked for 210 new Border Patrol agents in the Homeland Security Department’s fiscal 2006 budget request. Congress, however, immediately moved to boost that number. The House version of the 2006 DHS appropriations bill—approved last month—includes funding to hire 1,000. The Senate version of the bill has not yet been approved, but is likely to include the funding for 1,000 new agents.
If the measure passes in its current form, the Border Patrol would hire about 2,100 new agents by the end of fiscal 2006, which would include additional hiring to account for attrition.