Trump steps up plan to hire border agents

U.S. border with Mexico stretches more than 1,950 miles, much of it unpatrolled.

U.S. border with Mexico stretches more than 1,950 miles, much of it unpatrolled.

The Trump administration is accelerating efforts to implement its executive order to deploy more border-security personnel, spelling out plans to place “an aggressive focus” on educating the public about U.S. Customs and Border Protection, or CBP, in addition to the process by which Americans can become Border Patrol agents.

The Department of Homeland Security, or DHS, through the CBP Hiring Center is preparing to launch a “hard-hitting, targeted recruitment campaign” that will leverage “the services and expertise of industry to assist with its recruitment and hiring mission to protect America’s borders.”

The agency intends to hire human-resources and advertising contractors to more effectively promote such law enforcement careers and opportunities at CBP, according to a newly released draft Statement of Objectives, or SOO.

Contractors chosen for the endeavor – known as Office of Human Resources Management Frontline Recruitment and Hiring Services initiative – likewise will be tasked with guiding and educating candidates about the hiring process.

The objective of this outside assistance is to deliver results rather than merely perform tasks – in other words, to satisfy CBP staffing requirements “on expedited timelines,” the agency pointed out in the draft SOO.

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Contractors under the preliminary plan, therefore, could end up “primarily” receiving compensation “based on performance” and depending on their success in recruiting BPAs, according to the document, which WND discovered through routine database research.

The program takes its cue from “Executive Order: Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements,” which President Donald Trump signed Jan. 25.

Among other actions, such as the construction of a physical wall along the nation’s southern border, the order directs CBP to “take all appropriate action to hire 5,000 additional Border Patrol agents, and all appropriate action to ensure that such agents enter on duty and are assigned to duty stations as soon as is practicable.”

The new draft objectives state a contractor hired under the order must be able to produce a minimum of:

  • 500 fully qualified applicants who enter on duty in the first year;
  • 1,500 fully qualified applicants who enter on duty the second year;
  • 1,500 fully qualified applicants who enter on duty in the third year, and:
  • 1,500 fully qualified applicants in the fourth year.

The selected contractor must develop for the agency a border-agent hiring plan using industry best practices – such as conducting expert market research and data analysis, and tapping into recruitment and advertising expertise – to recruit a sufficient number of qualified candidates.

The contract could be expanded to meet other DHS personnel needs or in response to congressional requirements.

All contractor personnel working on the project must be U.S. citizens, according to the draft SOO.

CBP said the purpose of releasing the document is to provide vendors with a chance to offer feedback on the proposed requirements prior the agency issuing a formal request for proposals, or RFP.

The agency has not yet established a release date for the RFP, as it is still developing the acquisition strategy for the Frontline Recruitment and Hiring Services initiative. CBP expects to finalize the strategy following its review of industry responses to the notice.

Questions or comments on the draft SOO will be accepted until Friday, May 26. Interested parties can send an e-mail to PROC-MSCD@cbp.dhs.gov.

Wall update

CBP last week separately issued brief statements confirming its completion of Phase I reviews of “mock-up” prototype wall structures developed and presented by contractors, whom it expected to soon notify regardless of whether they were selected for or excluded from the next phase of the border-wall endeavor.

Unlike the less costly prototype projects, the overall estimated cost of carrying out President Trump’s plan to build a wall has varied, ranging from about $12 billion to $40 billion depending on the source. But border-control activists have maintained that the fiscal and societal burdens heaped on U.S. citizens for governmental failure to take decisive action on illegal immigration is significantly costlier.

The agency in March revealed it was offering separate procurement options to build concrete walls as well as structures comprising other materials. The total, estimated maximum cost for both five-year prototype projects is $600 million, divided evenly between the “Solid Concrete Border Wall Project” in Solicitation No. HSBP1017R0022 and the “Other Border Wall Project” in Solicitation No. HSBP1017R0023.

CBP since that time separately assessed both “concrete” and “other” prototypes, and on May 12 it issued identical statements in the two procurements.

“Offerors whose proposals were most highly rated will receive invitations to submit Phase 2 proposals. Offerors who were not among the most highly rated will receive written notification of the Government’s findings,” it said in an update to both the “solid concrete border wall” and “other border wall” RFPs.

Although CBP confirmed it was making progress in these assessments, it explicitly admitted that public disclosure of the results was not forthcoming “The government will not release detailed information about the results of the downselection, including the names of bidders and the exact number of offerors who were selected for Phase 2.”

CBP eventually could issue task orders to contractors from $100,000 to $275 million, according to a pair of RFP documents governing the prototype initiatives.

CBP says the goal of the procurements is not to begin constructing “the total wall solution for the border with Mexico,” but rather to “acquire and evaluate available wall prototypes and provide some initial construction of some wall segments.”

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