The U.S. Customs and Border Protection need men to augment its strength. The present shortage is 1200 positions in the office of Field Operations, Border Patrol and Air and Marine Operations, apart from another 5000 as per the executive order of President Donald Trump who wants to hire in thousands to protect the borders. However, as things stand, very few want to join up and it appears to be a tough proposition unless there is a change in perception as reported by Fox News.

Why the reluctance?

Some of the reasons attributed to the reluctance of people to join the Border Patrol are the polygraph tests, rigorous work schedule, and meager salary.

The polygraph tests are necessary as per law but its implementation is imprecise. At times, good candidates find it difficult to clear the tests and there is an example of a candidate who could not clear the polygraph exam twice because of faulty machines.

Then comes the rigorous work schedule. Border Patrol accepts the fact that the nature of the work involves long hours of duty, coupled with working in rotating shifts and in hazardous conditions. The candidates also have to remain separated from family for long periods that could extend to a month or more.

And, finally the salary. The starting salary of Border Patrol agents is $52,000 which can increase to $97,000 in the fifth year. These are some factors responsible for the lack of interest among people to join Border Patrol and it is witnessing a gradual drop in its strength.

In 2011, it had 21,444 agents and last year, the figure was less than 20,000.

How to solve the problem

The authorities could attract more people to join Border Patrol by offering incentives and also giving them an option to select a place of their choice to be posted to after completing a tough assignment. Another option is to recruit men from remote areas who are used to the rough life instead of going for people from big cities who hate the tough life.

Some feel that veterans are fit for Border Patrol Duties because they will continue to serve the country as they had been doing while in service.

President Donald Trump wants the borders to be secure and, whatever be the final decision, the authorities must ensure that the borders remain impregnable.