'Boots on the Border' would allow certain border protection applicants to skip polygraph

Posted at 12:30 PM, Mar 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-10 14:30:34-05
Customs and Border Protection is the front line of the illegal immigration and drug smuggling fight, but the agency is losing agents faster than they can hire them.  
According to Sen. Jeff Flake, close to 70,000 people apply for a position with the CBP each year but only about 600 are hired.  The biggest hurdle, he said, is candidates failing the lie detector test. The question that trips up applicants?
"Obviously with regard to (questions about) drug use," Sen. Flake said.  "We live in a culture now in which it's more frequent than perhaps we'd like.  I think the agencies need to understand that."
Sens. Flake and John McCain rolled out the 'Boots on the Border' act.  The bill would allow certain law enforcement and military members to bypass the polygraph test.  The failure rate of the people applying for customs and border positions is double the average of other law enforcement lie detector tests, according to the Associated Press.  
Senator Flake doesn't believe the candidates are always at fault, but rather the test itself.  Plus, he's been told some won't apply because of the simple fear of failing.
"People fear a false positive might hurt their future prospects for employment with the federal government or other law enforcement agencies," he said.
The agency needs to hire close to 3,000 a year to keep up with attrition and to hit President Trump's goals.
Read more about the bill here.