Hard Times a ‘Two-Fer’ for Border Patrol

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.

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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.

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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.

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[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.

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