US Senators seek relaxed review of border patrol applicants

© Reuters. A U.S. Border Patrol agent walks along the U.S.-Mexico border fence near Calexico, California

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Three Republican senators, hoping to speed up the hiring of law enforcement officers at the United States borders, introduced legislation on Friday that exempts lie detector tests for job applicants already serving in law enforcement or have served in the military.

The “Boots on the Border Act” was endorsed by Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Ron Johnson, Senator John McCain, a member of that panel, and Senator Jeff Flake, who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, who oversees immigration policy.

Flake, in a statement, noted that lengthy inspection procedures have resulted in 1,768 Border Patrol posts and 1,046 unfilled Customs and Border Protection posts.

At the same time, the Department of Homeland Security has plans to add more than 5,000 border agents to the current force.

The legislation, which would have to go through several steps in the Senate and House of Representatives before it becomes law, comes as the Trump administration is stepping up deportations of illegal immigrants. It is also moving to restrict travel in the United States to people from six predominantly Muslim countries, a move that faces legal challenges.

Under the Senate bill, CBP could waive current polygraph requirements for applicants who have been working in federal, state, and local law enforcement for the past three years, have a clean employment record, and have successfully completed the polygraph and other background checks.

The bill would also cover US military personnel and veterans.

“This legislation would address the chronic shortage of CBP personnel by simplifying background testing for qualified veterans, military service members, and current law enforcement officers,” McCain said in a statement.

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