Tags: Homeland Security | Immigration | border | patrol | lie detector | agents

Border Patrol May Drop Polygraph From Hiring Process

Image: Border Patrol May Drop Polygraph From Hiring Process
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By    |   Thursday, 13 Apr 2017 02:48 PM

The U.S. Border Patrol, having difficulty recruiting new agents, is considering dropping its polygraph test for applicants.

"The polygraph has given us a difficult time," Border Patrol Chief Ronald Vitiello said Wednesday in San Antonio at a border security press briefing, according to The Wall Street Journal. "Not a lot of people are passing."

U.S. Customs and Border Protection insist dropping the exam would have no impact on the quality of those hired. CBP acting commissioner Kevin McAleenan told the Journal the polygraph "has been identified as both a significant deterrent and a point of failure for CBP law enforcement applicants."

He added the border patrol agency is competing with other law enforcement agencies that provide better pay, are in better locations, and have no lie detector test.

Currently, 60 percent of applicants fail the polygraph, according to the agency. Vitiello told the Journal in a one-on-one interview from San Antonio that although it is not certain why the majority fail, he and others believe applicants likely lie about past drug use, thinking it will preclude them from the job.

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., speculated to The Los Angeles Times the agency's examiners intentionally fail applicants to keep their own jobs secure.

"There seems to be no good explanation, and when we hear so many anecdotal stories, it starts to look like a trend where they feel like they have to fail them, a certain number," he said. "It makes you angry that people would be put through that."

At the end of April, the agency will shift to a new, shorter polygraph test as part of a test or pilot program. Former CBP internal affairs head James Tomsheck told the Journal this exam is "designed for the intelligence community, not law enforcement professionals," and "They are putting in a polygraph that many unsuitable persons will be able to clear — people who use drugs or have the potential to become involved in drug activity."

Some, like Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., worry eliminating the lie detector test would leave the agency at risk of unqualified or unsuited candidates.

"If they actually can't meet the standards, it doesn't mean we lower the standards to get a larger number who can meet them," she told the Journal.

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The U.S. Border Patrol, having difficulty recruiting new agents, is considering dropping its polygraph test for applicants.
border, patrol, lie detector, agents
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2017-48-13
Thursday, 13 Apr 2017 02:48 PM
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