Border Patrol Termination Rates: Discipline and Performance Problems Signal Need for Reform

16 Pages Posted: 7 Feb 2018

See all articles by Alex Nowrasteh

Alex Nowrasteh

Cato Institute - Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity

Date Written: November 2, 2017

Abstract

The Trump administration wants to increase the size of the U.S. Border Patrol by hiring 5,000 more agents beyond the approximately 20,000 current agents, in addition to filling roughly 1,500 job vacancies. Congress will likely lower the hiring standards for some applicants to help reach the president’s staffing goals. Reports allege that corruption and misconduct are serious personnel problems at Border Patrol, but little direct evidence is available to evaluate the extent of such problems.

However, data from the Office of Personnel Management reveal that Border Patrol agents are more likely to be terminated for discipline or performance reasons than officers in other large federal law enforcement agencies (those with 5,000 or more officers). From 2006 to 2016, Border Patrol agents were twice as likely to be terminated for disciplinary infractions or poor performance as Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and 49 percent more likely than Customs and Border Protection officers who work in the Office of Field Operations. Border Patrol agents were 54 percent more likely than guards at the Bureau of Prisons to be terminated for disciplinary infractions or poor performance, 6 times as likely as Federal Bureau of Investigation agents, 7.1 times as likely as Drug Enforcement Administration agents, and 12.9 times as likely as Secret Service agents.

Keywords: border patrol, corruption, terminations, misconduct, immigration enforcement

JEL Classification: J15, J60, K37

Suggested Citation

Nowrasteh, Alex, Border Patrol Termination Rates: Discipline and Performance Problems Signal Need for Reform (November 2, 2017). Cato Institute Policy Analysis No. 825. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3112845

Alex Nowrasteh (Contact Author)

Cato Institute - Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity ( email )

1000 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20001-5403
United States

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