‘Tip of the Spear’ Cuts CBP Hiring Contract Short



Cutting its losses, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) ended its $297 million contract with a hiring company that wasn’t delivering needed personnel to the chronically understaffed agency.

The move came four months after government auditors blasted CBP’s arrangement with Accenture. According to the five-year contract signed in November 2017, Accenture was to assist in hiring 7,500 CBP officers. One year on, Accenture was nowhere close to hitting that target.  

CBP paid the company $19 million in start-up costs, and some $2 million for 58 people who got job offers. The agency also has another $39 million left to “settle and close the books” with Accenture, whose corporate motto is “using threats to grow resilience.”

The Border Patrol had 19,437 agents in fiscal year 2017, nearly 2,000 short of the congressionally mandated minimum of 21,370. It was the lowest level since the final year of the George W. Bush administration, when 17,499 agents were on board.

Despite the Accenture arrangement – or because of it – CBP’s staffing situation didn’t improve in 2018. Acknowledging persistent vacancies and high turnover as the “tip of the spear” agency faces an onslaught of illegal crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border, new CBP chief operating officer John Sanders says progress is now being made.

“Five years ago, it was taking 400 days to hire. Now it’s 270,” he told a Border Security conference last month. “For the first time, we are hiring more than are leaving.”

Sanders expects further improvement. “Really good people don’t want to wait 270 days,” Sanders noted.

Preston Huennekens, at the Center for Immigration Studies, said Accenture “was clearly incapable of completing the work CBP contracted it to do.”

“CBP should move forward immediately to award this important contract to a competent competitor, or do the work of hiring agents itself. Ideally, it won’t lose tens of millions doing so,” he said.

About Author

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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.

5 Comments

  1. avatar
    Stephen Russell on

    Hire HR company that gives a Damn about Wall alone aside BP duties
    , Vet the company & purge any Deep Staters in USBP alone.
    Outsource but compete to outsource HR company.
    Or nothing changes

  2. avatar

    And this is yet another reason why we need a wall/barrier/fence, whatever word the other side chooses to haggle over. Because there is no hiring or training delay, no sick calls, no paycheck, with a barrier as opposed to the complications and expense with hiring people. Of course we need agents, but the Border Patrol itself says that any wall or barrier helps them out because they can maximize their manpower. It’s foolish to try to deny a barrier does not slow down and contain most illegal crossers, instead of them just dashing across the border and long gone.

    The left and the media continues it’s spin that no matter what is happening at the border, it’s Trump’s fault. According to Jill Colvin of Associated Press: “Now, six months later, Trump’s new cries of alarm are again being met with skepticism, though the situation at the border has indeed deteriorated. It’s a classic case of the boy who cried wolf”.

    Then the story quotes Rep. Nanette Barragan, D-Cal, : “If he’s truly interested in the southern border right now and what has been happening, then these policies need to change, the rhetoric needs to change.” Did Republicans say we won’t declare war on Japan after Pearl Harbor because they didn’t like Roosevelt’s New Deal? It’s called an emergency and the matter of language is irrelevant.

    The simple fact is that it was the other side and the media that long denied that there was a problem, what with caravans that “didn’t exist” and then arrived at the border. Trump may have cried wolf but it was because there was and is a problem. Waiting for him to change his rhetoric is the lamest of excuse making. They don’t want a secure border, then or now.

    • avatar

      Leland

      Google the need to build a WALL to stop crime….and the high tech search engines will stream out vermin lies that WALLs don’t work, but have no raw data to prove it. Just their lying word. I got zero results on why they work.

      Someone needs to sue over this blatant bias.

      • avatar

        Yeah no doubt that the big tech companies have a deliberate bias against conservatives and the right. Twitter and Facebook still refuse to ban Louis Farrakhan despite numerous bigoted statements against Jews but have banned conservatives for merely stating true facts.

  3. avatar

    Why doesn’t DHS actively recruit former, current and future Military personnel who has had proven experience in rugged terrain and filed operations, by offering relocation pay increases, retention bonuses and hazardous duty pay? We have a valuable resource that is being wasted and one that has already been through much of the training and schooling required. Our active duty and former Military personnel are important to the nation in every crisis concerning our safety and security and many have been deployed time and again in areas where the risks and the dangers are imminently greater due to Mission requirements. The Borders and Ports of the USA are all a challenge to those who never wore the uniform, or experienced deployment into hostile environments. Give our Military and Veterans an opportunity to continue their service to the nation in a work environment they already excel in.