By Eric Katz
Lawmakers chided Customs and Border Protection officials at a congressional hearing Tuesday, saying the agency has failed to boost its staffing levels despite a specific mandate from Congress to do so.
Congress authorized CBP to bring on 2,000 additional law enforcement officers in fiscal 2014, but to date the agency has filled just 60 percent of those jobs. The struggle to hire comes as the total number of applicants for CBP positions skyrocketed nearly 200 percent between fiscal years 2014 and 2015, from 40,000 to 115,000.
Linda Jacksta, CBP’s assistant commissioner in the Human Resources Management Office, told members of the House Homeland Security Committee’s panel on Border and Maritime Security the intentionally rigorous and laborious application process plays a major role in making it difficult to recruit and hire. The average time it takes to complete the hiring process for each individual is 18 months, Jacksta said.