The United States Border Patrol is hoping the creation of a new position within the agency could free up more highly trained agents to get back to the border.
According to the Washington Times, Border Patrol administrators are seeking a solution to free up agents currently providing care to migrant families to return to the jobs they were trained to do.
As IJR previously reported, hundreds of thousands of migrants have crossed the border, many of which are family units traveling with children. Because of this, detention facilities used by Immigration and Customs Enforcement have hit capacity and Border Patrol Agents have been forced to release migrants on their own recognizance.
The migrant families are given a court date to return for their asylum hearing — which could be years away — and are allowed to stay in the U.S. legally until their court date.
Although ICE facilities are full and most families are not being detained, they must still be given care while the initial processing takes place. Because of this, Border Patrol has been using up medical and infant care resources at a rate four times that of the previous financial year.
In total, Border Patrol agents are spending an average of 40% of their on-duty time providing care to migrant families.
Meanwhile, the border still needs to be secured. Drugs and crime continue to flow even if 40% of the agents time is being spent on caregiving.
ICYMI – A Border Patrol K9 sniffed out 118lbs of liquid meth in TX. A Border Patrol agent and his K9 partner discovered 2 suitcases in a passenger bus at the Sierra Blanca checkpoint that contained 90 plastic bottles of liquid meth worth almost $4M. https://t.co/NHKrAQTATV pic.twitter.com/YG2sQS2qIK
— CBP (@CBP) May 26, 2019
One Border Patrol official told reporters that a new caregiving position would free up agents to do the job they are trained to do.
“It’s bringing in individuals to take part of those administrative duties over, allowing the Border Patrol agent to get back in the field,” the official said.
While Border Patrol authorities claimed the position is necessary, the agency is also short staffed when it comes to agents, in general, leaving some questioning whether the new positions are as important as filling the current vacancies.