Donna Burton / CBP file photo

House and Senate Again Decline to Fund Trump's Proposed Homeland Security Hiring Spree

The chambers have different ideas for fiscal 2019, but neither matches the White House's requests.

The House and Senate have different ideas on whether to boost staffing at components of the Homeland Security Department, but both chambers of Congress appear to agree that President Trump’s requests are unrealistic and thus far have declined to meet them.

In its fiscal 2019 budget, the White House suggested that Customs and Border Protection hire 750 new border agents and an additional 150 support staffers. Immigration and Customs Enforcement sought funding for 2,000 new agents and 1,300 support personnel. The hiring was proposed as a down payment on Trump’s mandate that DHS hire 5,000 Border Patrol agents and 10,000 new ICE agents.

In a measure approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee, lawmakers agreed on a bipartisan basis the proposals were ill-advised.

“The department requested funding to increase the number of personnel in many of its components,” the committee wrote in a report accompanying the bill. “A portion of these personnel cannot feasibly be hired or retained in fiscal year 2019, even under the most optimistic projections. The bill instead recommends funding levels for salaries and benefits that are more realistic based on hiring and attrition rates.”

The lawmakers also criticized DHS for submitting new requests that “do not align with hiring projections or actual [full-time equivalent employees] in the previous year.”

The senators did not include funding for ICE to boost its Enforcement and Removal Operations, the office Trump had suggested for increases.

“The Senate bill does not fund the hiring of a single additional ICE agent or provide any funds for additional detention beds over the FY 2018 level,” said Jay Tilton, a spokesman for Democrats on the appropriations panel.

House appropriators, meanwhile, provided $78 million for ICE to hire 400 new law enforcement personnel, as well as additional support staff. They proposed funding the 500 Border Patrol agents Trump requested in fiscal 2018, which Congress never allotted, as well as $41 million for 140 new canine teams.

The Senate would fund 375 new Border Patrol agents, in addition to the same number of new officers at ports of entry. The senators noted that CBP “continues to struggle” to meet its hiring initiatives, and proposed $45 million for recruitment and retention programs and $28.6 million for human resources enhancements. The House bill would provide $18.5 million for Border Patrol retention bonuses.

CBP has suggested that new incentive programs and recruiting efforts such as advertising campaigns have demonstrated a positive return on investment. Senate appropriators, however, had their doubts.

“It remains unclear to the committee whether these discrete efforts are truly components of a larger strategy,” the lawmakers wrote in their report. They requested a report from the agency on all of its recruitment and retention initiatives and the effectiveness of each program. Both chambers pushed for CBP to create a staffing model and provide it to their committees, a yet-unfulfilled requirement lawmakers included in last year’s appropriations measure.

The agency has made improvements in its dozen-step hiring process, leading to faster results. CBP has made revisions to its polygraph tests, though still just 26 percent of potential Border Patrol agents passed it last year, according to a recent Government Accountability Office report. It has also made adjustments to its physical testing and has received direct hire authority from the Office of Personnel Management for law enforcement jobs.

In addition, CBP has signed a contract with Accenture worth up to $297 million to help with the recruiting and hiring process, which GAO said “seems promising” but is still too early to definitively assess. Accenture has collected $43 million so far and onboarded around 600 new employees. In the first year of the contract, CBP is paying the vendor $40,000 per new employee hired. ICE also proposed a contract to help it hire 16,600 additional employees, but ultimately canceled the proposal due to a lack of funding. The agency said it would rebid the contract in fiscal 2019.

For two consecutive years, CBP has advised lawmakers in their final appropriations bill to reduce its allocation for personnel by more than $200 million because its payroll costs were set to fall short of its projections. The agency saw a net decrease in employees in 2017, a trend that has continued in 2018. New deportation officer hires dropped in half in 2017.

The Senate bill also contains funding for nearly 1,500 new Transportation Security Administration employees to “staff checkpoints and mitigate wait times.” The House bill proposed an increase of just 360 employees, while Trump’s budget requested about 700.

The differences between the bills will likely be resolved in a conference committee after each chamber passes its respective measure.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.