Durbin, Duckworth Introduce Bill To Combat Corruption In Border Patrol, Immigration And Customs Enforcement

Bill Would Strengthen CBP Polygraph Requirement, Establish Requirement At ICE

Hundreds of DHS employees have been arrested or indicted for corruption since last decade

WASHINGTON – In response to the President’s proposed hiring surge of thousands of border and immigration agents, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), Ranking Member of the Senate Immigration Subcommittee, and Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) today introduced legislation to combat corruption in the ranks of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The Integrity in Border and Immigration Enforcement Act would require that all law enforcement applicants pass a law enforcement polygraph test and would also require post-hire polygraph testing on a targeted and random basis. 

In his January 25 executive orders on immigration, President Donald Trump called for hiring 5,000 additional border agents and 10,000 additional ICE agents. In the previous decade, Border Patrol personnel doubled and CBP experienced a spike in internal corruption cases, which CBP concluded was largely due to the agency’s swift growth.  As a result, Congress passed legislation in 2010 to require that all CBP law enforcement applicants take a polygraph test.  Efforts are underway to exempt certain categories of applicants from this requirement and to use a less-effective test for all applicants. 

“President Trump’s plan to hire tens of thousands of new immigration agents while lowering hiring standards poses serious risks for public safety and national security,” said Durbin. “Our nation’s border and immigration enforcement officers must be held to the same standard of integrity as other federal law enforcement. This legislation would require just that.”  

"There’s simply no reason for border and immigration enforcement officers to be subject to looser employment standards than their peers at other federal law enforcement agencies, and this legislation will help fix this unnecessary disparity," said Duckworth.        

CBP is the largest federal law-enforcement agency, and ICE is one of the largest.  Many other federal law-enforcement agencies (including the FBI, Secret Service, DEA, and ATF) have a polygraph exam hiring requirement and agencies such as the FBI, DIA, CIA, and NSA have periodic random and targeted polygraph examinations for current personnel.  In recent years, cases of CBP and ICE corruption have drawn national attention. In May, Senator Durbin grilled Acting CBP Deputy Commissioner Ron Vitiello about the case of Joel Luna, a CBP agent convicted earlier this year for drug- and arms-trafficking, and the agency’s efforts to lower polygraph standards for new applicants.

A summary of the bill is available here.