WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, the top-ranking Democrat on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, is raising concerns over nearly $300 million contract to help hire Border Patrol Agents and Customs and Border Protection Officers. The contract will cost nearly $40,000 per recruit, which is approximately the same as a the first-year salary for a new Customs and Border Protection law enforcement officer. McCaskill’s inquiry is part of her continued efforts to fight waste, fraud, and abuse, while strengthening the security of our borders and ports of entry.
“It’s important that we continue to strengthen and secure our borders and ports of entry with the best possible personnel—but I’m concerned by the sky-high costs in this contract,” McCaskill said. “Any dollar wasted on an unnecessary recruiting contract is a dollar that cannot be spent on additional badly needed boots on the ground.”
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) awarded this $300 million contract to help hire law enforcement officers at a rate of almost $40,000 per person. Currently, CBP’s law enforcement components are thousands of agents and officers below mandated levels. “CBP Officers at ports of entry and inspection facilities are in many cases the first line of defense in identifying illicit drugs entering the country,” McCaskill wrote in a letter to the CBP Acting Commissioner. McCaskill is requesting details on the contract and difficulties CBP has faced in hiring additional officers “given the impact this contract will have on CBP’s ability to meet staffing targets and significantly augment their law enforcement workforce.”
In her role leading the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, McCaskill has called on Congress and the Administration to strengthen border security by filling staffing shortages and increasing law enforcement personnel at ports of entry. McCaskill previously joined Republican Committee Chairman Ron Johnson to request more information about what CBP is doing to stop illegal opioids from being smuggled into the country. McCaskill has also called for Congress to allocate more border security funds at ports of entry in order to strengthen efforts to intercept illegal opioids and other drugs entering the country. McCaskill’s bill to reauthorize the Department of Homeland Security’s program that targets transnational criminal organizations on the border and at U.S. ports in order to combat drug and weapons trafficking and other crimes was approved by the Committee last year.
Read McCaskill’s letter to the CBP Acting Commissioner HERE.