U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, is pressing U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Kevin McAleenan for more information about a CBP hiring contract worth millions of dollars that only resulted in two new agency hires.
The Homeland Security Department’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) recently found that CBP paid a private contractor millions to help hire 7,500 Border Patrol agents and officers, but the contractor only hired two in 10 months.
“Securing our borders is essential. We need well-trained CBP agents and officers on the job to make sure people and contraband are not entering our country illegally,” Enzi wrote. “It is disappointing that millions of tax dollars that were supposed to be spent to achieve this important goal have yielded little in return. Contractors need to be held accountable to ensure they provide the results they promised. Without diligent oversight, CBP risks wasting more money on this failing effort.”
The inspector’s report suggests that despite CBP’s paying for startup costs, security requirements, recruiting and applicant support, “CBP may have paid . . . for services and tools not provided.”
Specifically, Enzi wants to know how CBP modified the contract as a result of the contractor’s delays and if there were any consequences for the contractor, as well as what ongoing oversight efforts CBP conducted prior to OIG’s involvement. He also is pressing for details about whether the contract includes any accountability provisions, if CBP plans to pursue damages or terminate this contract and if CBP intends to include accountability and performance measures in future contracts. Most importantly, Enzi wants to determine whether CBP is capable of meeting its goal of hiring 7,500 new agents in five years.
Read Enzi’s letter to CBP here.