August 29, 2008   Current Site Visitors -> web tracker

When Success Means Failure
Why Border Patrol Agent Is Dead-End Job

San Francisco Chronicle -- August 29  
Agent stares at border monument in middle of desert.

High turnover rate hurts Border Patrol
   ... The Border Patrol's struggle to keep new hires has become more evident as the agency comes close to meeting President Bush's target of 18,000 agents by the end of the year, up from 12,000 two years ago and double the number from eight years ago. The hiring surge means 42 percent of agents have less than three years on the job. [...]
    Boredom is another job hazard. Agents in Imperial Beach wait alone in parked Jeeps and pickups, waiting for migrants to jump the border fence and make a run for the nearest patch of stores and homes.
    Darin Bowdin of Sacramento, who joined the station in October 2006, wants to be promoted to a special unit - like all-terrain vehicles, horseback, boat patrol or SWAT-style teams - but those jobs are off-limits until he finishes two years.
For now, the 27-year-old says: "I've just got to sit my time on the line watching the fence."
 Red DotAmerican Patrol Observation: Real success means fewer than 20,000 apprehensions per year.
     If we had 20,000 agents, this would mean each would apprehend one illegal alien a year. If one agent catches 15, another might go fifteen years without an apprehension. This is insane. No one would stay on the job. The entire system should be designed to work with 5,000 agents, or fewer. That means a double fence and high technology – at least.

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