Audit Shreds Border Patrol Hiring Contract



Criticizing a costly hiring agreement and unauthorized use of a retinal-scanning device, government auditors ripped holes in Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) contract with a personnel-recruiting firm.

“CBP paid Accenture Federal Services approximately $13.6 million for startup costs, security requirements, recruiting and applicant support. In return, Accenture has processed two accepted job offers,” according to a “Management Alert” by Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General (OIG).

You read that right: two.

The Accenture contract, totaling $297 million, was signed last year with the expectation that 7,500 Border Patrol officers would be hired over five years.

In its defense, the chronically short-handed CBP asserted that Accenture “marketed and recruited thousands of new applicants.” But OIG determined that neither CBP nor Accenture could track the applicants recruited by Accenture.

Auditors also eyed problems involving an Accenture retinal scanning tool used “to discern deception based on eye and face muscle movement.” The EyeDetect tool would pre-screen job applicants.

OIG discovered that Accenture launched EyeDetect without required approvals from DHS’s Science and Technology Directorate and Privacy Office. This exposed the agency to “increased legal risk,” the audit warned.

Meantime, “Accenture is struggling to implement the technology and tools promised to improve candidate quality and reduce time to hire,” OIG stated. “For example, Accenture proposed using its e86 automation tool, software developed to validate electronic security clearance forms and accelerate background investigations.”

But auditors found that the e86 was shelved due to “functionality issues,” including high error rates and multiple software glitches. As a result, Accenture had to begin reviewing security clearance forms manually, resulting in a backlog of forms requiring review.

While CBP continued to pay Accenture, agency staffers carried out “a significant portion of the hiring operations,” such as application intake and qualification review, ordering of medical and fitness exams, drug testing and initiation of background investigation forms, the OIG audit reported.

This month, the Inspector General recommended that CBP:

  • Assess Accenture’s contract performance and determine whether the company should reimburse DHS for services not provided.
  • Analyze whether the Accenture payment structure is the most cost-effective and in the best interest of the government, and if not, restructure the contract as appropriate.
  • Consult with the proper entities and obtain any required approvals prior to deploying EyeDetect.
  • Develop and implement performance metrics for the Accenture contract.

CBP has pledged to address the recommendations, and indicated it was still developing performance metrics.

Would have been nice if such metrics and commonsense were built into the original contract. But better late than never, we suppose.

About Author

avatar

Bob Dane, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)'s Executive Director, has been with FAIR since 2006. His deep belief is that immigration is the most transformational determinant of where we are heading as a nation and that our policies must be reformed in the public interest. Over many years on thousands of radio, TV and print interviews, Bob has made the case that unless immigration is regulated and sensibly reduced, it will be difficult for America to reduce unemployment, increase wages, improve health care and education and heighten national security. Prior to joining FAIR, Bob spent twenty years in network radio, marketing and communications after an earlier career in policy and budgeting within the Reagan Administration. Bob has a degree from George Mason University in Public Administration and Management.

6 Comments

  1. avatar

    This report reveals the type of broken “supply-chain” hiring that is quite prevalent to our tech labor market. Our labor markets are broken when it comes to hiring American citizens. These intermediary staffing/body shops have a notorious reputation with American tech workers. To add injury to insult, Accenture isn’t even a U.S.-based company (anymore). And by the way, are only American citizens eligible for these jobs? Or is the case for some police forces, are only have a green card required ?

  2. avatar

    Build the wall, then mandate a $50,000.00 fine to employers that knowingly hire illegals. Absolutely not one dime in welfare or even 1 grain of food. This completely reduces the desire off illegals to come here. 10 year moratorium on immigration of any kind without merit.

  3. avatar

    That 297 million could have built a lot of fencing aka a “wall”. And trying to pretend there’s some huge difference between the two is just semantics. But Chuck and Nancy also like to pretend that they are for “a strong border” when nothing they support would enforce the border. It’s always “comprehensive immigration reform” which translates to an amnesty for every single illegal here, which only encourages more of the same, and proposals for things like drones and sensors which actually do nothing to stop people from entering the country where, allowing for the possibility they are even caught, they promptly file asylum claims which means a court date years down the road, which they likely will not show up for, and if they do, then the sob story will be they “established roots here” and can’t be sent back.

    And even if they agree to money for a wall or fence doesn’t mean they won’t defund it in the future. Exhibit A would be the Secure Fence Act of 2006, seven hundred miles of double layer fence voted for by Schumer, Hillary, Obama, and Biden. Little known is the timing of that vote. It was October 2006. Hmm, let’s think about why that date. Oh yeah, it was the month before the mid-terms, so these frauds could go home and say look at me I’m for a strong border. However, after the Democrats took control of the next Congress in that election, very little of the original promised double layer fence was built because the money was not provided to pay for it. This fencing would have been a carbon copy of the double layer fence built by the Clinton administration along the San Diego border, which reduced crossings there to almost nothing.

    Trusting Schumer on any aspect of border security is the perfect example of the definition of insanity being repeating the same thing and expecting a different result. Not only did he support and then not implement the aforementioned Secure Fence Act [which is why we’re still talking about it 12 years later] but he was a leader in the House for the “one time” amnesty of `1986, which came with amnesty up front and then none of the promised border security happened.

  4. avatar

    Take a hard look at Accenture; I think they’re just a re-brand of an older accounting / consulting firm that went Belly Up. Wasteful spending and lack of accountability in a gummint contract? Gee, nobody saw THAT coming!

FAIR blogs can now be found on our main site at https://www.fairus.org/blog