Rob Margetta, Congressional Quarterly, February 6, 2009
Tougher economic times are giving Customs and Border Protection a bigger pool of potential border patrol agents from which to choose while simultaneously reducing the rate of illegal border crossings.
CBP set an all-time record for border patrol applications last week, receiving 6,000, according to agency officials who briefed Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on Friday.
Agency Commissioner Ralph Basham said CBP plans to take advantage of the surplus of applicants in its efforts to add 11,300 people to its 53,000-employee roster this year.
Officials also said a drop in attempted border crossings is likely linked to the economy. According to CBP statistics, activity at the border is down 21 percent compared with the same time last year.
[Secretary Napolitano] said the economy will rebound but, while there is a lull, DHS should take the opportunity to build up its border resources and strategy.