(NewsNation) — Less than four months after offering new recruits upwards of $10,000 in a signing incentive for those who commit one year with the Border Patrol, President Joe Biden’s administration announced they’re doubling the bonus.
Announced Nov. 1 on its website, U.S. Customs and Border Protection is now offering up to $20,000 for new recruits who make it through the polygraph and five-month academy training in an effort to combat the record high of migrant surges at the southern border. The $20,000 is for recruits who choose a post at a hard-to-fill location.
“Newly appointed Border Patrol Agents who meet the criteria … will be offered a $10,000 recruitment incentive upon successful completion of the academy,” the advertisement states.
“Additionally, new agents assigned to a hard-to-fill duty location will be eligible for an additional $10,000 recruitment incentive (for a total of $20,000),” the ad continues. “Hard-to-fill locations include: Sierra Blanca, TX; Presidio, TX; Sanderson, TX; Comstock, TX; Lordsburg, NM; Freer, TX; Hebbronville, TX; Ajo, AZ. All incentive recipients will be required to sign a two-year service agreement.”
“I know that the Border Patrol as well as customs both struggle on an ongoing basis to fill all their positions here,” John Ferguson, mayor of Presidio, Texas, said Monday while speaking on NewsNation’s “Rush Hour.”
As well as upping the incentive, Border Patrol is also asking for an extra year of service compared to the August ad.
Unchanged, however, are the requirements for eligibility, which include no previous law enforcement or military experience, although a bachelor’s degree “with superior academic achievement” is among the stipulations.
The U.S. has had dwindling Border Patrol officer numbers since 2016, according to a U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s 2019 report on attrition. Factors cited included other jobs, retirement, termination and resignation, which together dismantled the department’s massive hiring stint during President Bill Clinton and President George W. Bush administrations.
It’s an area former President Donald Trump tried addressing with his executive order mandating an additional 5,000 Border Patrol agents should be hired.
The initiative did not come to fruition as Congress shrunk the number of Border Patrol personnel it required from 21,370 to 19,500 under the Trump administration.
“You got areas in Texas where you’re seeing a lot of individuals that are turning themselves in,” vice president of the National Border Council, Art Del Cueto, said Monday on “Rush Hour.” “They need more agents out there just for the fact of processing. They’re overwhelmed with processing,” Cueto continued.
The migrant surge has led to a shake-up over the weekend, with the head of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Chris Magnus, stepping down after only 11 months.
Cueto has been an active Border Patrol agent for 19 years. He hopes these financial recruitment incentives work while calling for change at the U.S. border.
“Look, I think, as a whole, when things happen within the agency and you see leadership that is quick to attack or make the agents come out as villains, that alone is a deterrent for new candidates to want to join the agency,” Cueto said.