U.S. Border Guard Hires Civilians to Release Agents Outdoors

San Diego (AP)

Dozens or even hundreds of asylum-seekers often wait hours before surrendering to US Border Guard agents, Thousands of Haitians Gathering on the bridge in Del Rio, Texas’s small border town, is unprecedented and may indicate an obvious problem with federal police staffing.

Instead of conducting patrols to reveal smuggling activity, the agent spends about 40% of his time caring for and managing already detained people unrelated to border security.

Agents hire civilians for time-consuming tasks such as ensuring that burritos are properly served in the microwave, checking containment rooms, and collecting information on immigration court documents. Hopes to release the agent and return to the scene.

The border guard graduated from the first class of “processing coordinators” in January with the goal of eventually hiring 1,200 people. This position requires less training and requires less payment than law enforcement officers. It is also seen as a recruiting tool for agencies that are struggling to find qualified applicants, especially women.

It’s quick to know if a new employee will pan out as expected, but the first review of a hiring plan is generally positive. Their skills are in great demand as US authorities respond to a large group of Haitians and other new arrivals who suddenly arrive in Del Rio.

“This is a very good program. It’s a very necessary program,” said Brandon Judd, chairman of the National Border Patrol Council, a trade union that represents many of the nearly 20,000 agents. “This is a program that allows us to acquire more agents in the field.”

US Congressman Nanette Barragán, a Democrat in Los Angeles, told members of the second graduation class in June that they were “pioneers.” She realized the need for their skills in April when she visited a containment facility in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, the busiest corridor of illegal crossings from Mexico to the United States.

According to Barragan, unaccompanied children were detained in the facility for several days and were unable to call their parents. “The agent worked 24 hours a day to get the kids done quickly, but they needed help,” she told her graduation class.

The need is particularly acute during the regular surge at the US-Mexico border, including those seen in 2014, 2019, and this year. The coordinator position is 13 months and can be renewed for up to 4 years.

Most single adults are expelled without the opportunity to seek asylum under pandemic-related authorities designed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Unaccompanied children and most families can seek humanitarian protection and are released in the United States with notice of appearance in court, so there is little incentive to escape capture.

As a result, there are immigrants who wait and wait for agents to arrive across the border. And when they arrive, they may need more attention. In August, Families accounted for 41% of encounters with border guards, and unaccompanied children accounted for 9%.

Agents also complain that they have less time to track immigrants trying to prevent them from being picked up.

Aide Franco Avalos, a private coordinator assigned to Gukgyeong Station in the San Diego region, became interested in this job in 2019 while working at the Transportation Security Administration at Palm Springs International Airport in California.

Franco Abalos volunteered for a temporary border guard mission in El Paso, Texas, and felt happy with the care of immigrants. When she saw the opening in California, which didn’t require family movement, the Los Angeles native decided to change jobs.

“At first I didn’t know what I was working on because I was in a whole new position, but I knew I needed a lot of help from my agents,” she said.

Avalos wants to be an agent for the border guard, but at the age of 42, he missed the maximum starting age of 39.

annual income The coordinator’s processing is between $ 35,265 and $ 51,103, well below the amount the agent earns. The Biden administration’s 2022 budget states that the cost of this position is 18.5% less than the average agent.

Border guards began seriously considering job creation in 2014. The debate intensified when the agents were stretched again in 2019 by the families and children of many Central American asylum seekers.

“It’s a little frustrating to have no other choice, right?” Gloria Chavez, head of the Border Guard’s El Paso division, said she was deeply involved in the effort. “Who else can I rely on to help with this task? That’s how the conversation started.”

The agency also wants new positions to hire future agents, including more women, who account for only about 5% of agents, Chavez said.

“Processing coordinators work with agents in the central processing center. They learn a variety of skills and build trust in everyone. And perhaps they want to apply. Work, “she said.

Melanie Garcia, 24, quit her job as a prison guard in a psychiatric unit in Lubbock, Texas, and worked as a processing coordinator at the Border Guard Containment Center in El Paso. She wanted to learn more about the agency and get closer to her family. She said the job was a “really good stepping stone” to becoming an agent.

U.S. Border Guard Hires Civilians to Release Agents Outdoors

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