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DHS Faces Obstacles to Reach Immigration Memorandum Request

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WESLACO - The ranks of DHS are about to change as presidential executive orders seek to add thousands of personnel to ICE, Border Patrol and the Air and Marine Operations Center.

In memorandums released Monday, Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly outlined the need for more U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Immigration, and Customs Enforcement agents and officers.

However, difficulties can be found in written testimony from the Inspector General of Homeland Security John Roth.

Roth agreed more agents are needed to detect, track and apprehend people who are entering the U.S. illegally. But he said DHS will face a number of challenges in hiring them.

The government wants to add 10,000 additional ICE officers, 5,000 additional Border Patrol agents and 500 Air and Marine agents and officers.

The total of 15,000 additional agents does not include additional immigration judges, detention officers, centers, etc.

Roth said he foresees issues in hiring due to insufficient staffing in DHS’ Human Resource Department, training shortfalls and a lack of clear communication between departments within the agency.

In addition, Roth detailed problems with the system that tracks and process applicants.

Citing data from 2015, he said it took an average of more than nine months to hire one Border Patrol agent. The nine-month timeline was measured from the time the job was announced to the day the applicant was hired.

Roth noted other positions with DHS also experienced delays in the hiring process. He also pointed out prior audits showed DHS didn’t have reliable training cost data and information to make informed-management decisions. 

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