The House plans a vote this week on HR-2213, which seeks to speed up and ease hiring of Customs and Border Protection agents by allowing the agency to waive for certain applicants a requirement for polygraph testing.
The testing requirement, imposed in 2010, has been cited in congressional hearings and elsewhere as a complication in the hiring process at an agency struggling to fill its available positions and that stands to receive authority to add still more under the White House budget plan.
The bill would allow the agency to waive the polygraph requirement for applicants who have served as full-time law enforcement officers in federal, state or local government for at least three years and who meet certain other criteria; and veterans who hold or have held within the last five years clearances at the secret level and above and who also meet certain other criteria.
A congressional summary of the bill says that CBP “is critically understaffed and well below its congressionally mandated staffing levels by more than 1,000 officers and 1,800 border patrol agents. Even with a recent push to hire more officers and agents, the process is slow and arduous.
“These small changes will provide CBP with immediate, albeit temporary, relief so that they are able to quickly, yet judiciously, hire officers and agents from a pool of applicants that already maintain the public’s trust,” it said.