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Lawmakers Introduce Bill To Speed Up CBP Hiring Process

U.S. Sens. Jeff Flake and John McCain, along with other lawmakers, introduced legislation Thursday that would help speed up the hiring process for Custom and Border Protection agents.

The Boots on the Border Act would waive the polygraph hiring requirement for applicants with law enforcement or military experience.

Flake told reporters in a conference call that the biggest problem with the polygraph test is the high number of false positives it delivers. He said that has resulted in a drop in the number of applicants.

While the bill sounds like a step in the right direction, Flake said "There’s a legislative process we have to go through. Right now in the Senate we’re dealing with nominees and Supreme Court appointment, Obamacare repeal and replacement so we have a pretty stacked calendar for the next couple of months."

To put it in perspective, of the 553 positions requiring Senate Confirmation, according to the latest tracker from the Washington Post and the Partnership for Public Service, 512 positions are awaiting nomination. Only 18 nominees have been confirmed.

The Associated Press reported in January that about two-thirds of job applicants fail CBP's polygraph.

President Donald Trump announced he wants to hire 5,000 more Border Patrol agents, and 10,000 more Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers to enforce his executive orders on immigration.

KJZZ senior field correspondent Kathy Ritchie has 20 years of experience reporting and writing stories for national and local media outlets — nearly a decade of it has been spent in public media.