U.S. senators seek relaxed screening of border patrol applicants

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By Richard Cowan | WASHINGTON

WASHINGTON Three Republican senators, hoping to
speed the hiring of law enforcement agents on U.S. borders, on
Friday introduced legislation waiving lie detector tests for job
applicants who already serve in law enforcement or have done
military service.

The “Boots on the Border Act” was backed by Senate Homeland
Security Committee Chairman Ron Johnson, Senator John McCain, a
member of that panel, and Senator Jeff Flake, who serves on the
Senate Judiciary Committee, which oversees immigration policy.

Flake, in a statement, noted that long screening procedures
have resulted in 1,768 Border Patrol positions and 1,046 Customs
and Border Protection jobs remaining unfilled.

At the same time, the Department of Homeland Security has
plans to add more than 5,000 border enforcement agents to the
current force.

The legislation, which would have to go through several
steps in the Senate and House of Representatives before it could
become law, comes as the Trump administration is stepping up
deportations of illegal immigrants. It also is moving to
restrict travel in the United States for people from six
predominately Muslim countries, a move that faces legal
challenges.

Under the Senate bill, CBP could waive current polygraph
requirements for applicants who have been working in federal,
state and local law enforcement for the past three years, have
clean employment records and have successfully completed
polygraph and other background investigations.

The bill also would cover U.S. armed forces personnel and
veterans.

“This legislation would address CBP’s chronic staffing
shortage by streamlining background tests for qualified
veterans, military service members, and law enforcement officers
in good standing,” McCain said in a statement.



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