US border patrol understaffed by roughly 2,000 agents

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US border patrol faces agent shortage

U.S. Border Patrol Deputy Commissioner Ronald Vitiello on why there is a shortage of border patrol agents.

The federal law enforcement agency responsible for securing the United States border is losing its agents faster than it can hire them.

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The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency is roughly 2,000 agents short of its required 21,000 agents, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

In an interview with FOX Business’ Lou Dobbs, Border Patrol Deputy Commissioner Ronald Vitiello said the agency is making the hiring process as efficient as possible and he calls on Congress to change the way it conducts its hiring testing for new employees.

“We need to have a system that brings the right people in because the job is important. We hold the public’s trust. We have to make sure the people we bring are the right one,” Vitiello said.

In January, President Trump vowed to hire 5,000 additional agents to patrol and protect the U.S-Mexico border to stop the influx of illegal immigrants and drugs.

“The men and women of CBP are dedicated to doing the best they can using the tools, the technology, using intelligence, partnering with state, local, tribal authorities, other Federal government agencies to stop what we can at the border,” Vitiello said on “Lou Dobbs Tonight.”

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Trump’s proposed border wall, a promise that was at the center of his 2016 presidential campaign, is also a central debate in Congress as it negotiates a new government funding bill.

Vitiello said the agency is ready to move on the border wall and Congress has allocated about $10 billion in funds for the agency to constructing replacement walls to shore up some gaps in the southern part of Texas.

“The folks at the border patrol with our partners in CBP have developed actions plans to deploy the wall. It requires resources and so [Congress] gave us some in 2017 we’re going to move out on that and we’re hopeful for what will happen in FY 18,” he said.

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