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Border Patrol Seeks to Boost Numbers of Female Agents

For the past year, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has undertaken a dedicated effort to attract more females to its workforce, specifically the Border Patrol.

Of the Border Patrol’s workforce of over 21,000 agents, only 5% are women.

The Border Patrol plans to hire 1,600 agents by the end of the fiscal year, with a majority of hires being women, thanks so an exemption U.S. Customs and Border Protection received from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).  

Catherine Sanz, Executive Director of Women in Federal Law Enforcement (WIFLE) said that “to my knowledge, this tactic [of using a vacancy announcement targeting women] had not been used by any agency.”

Last fall, over 5,500 women applied to a tailored CBP vacancy announcement.

“The unprecedented female recruitment effort comes after the Border Patrol was overwhelmed last summer by a surge of women and children on the southern border, mostly Central Americans coming through Texas' Rio Grande Valley,” explained a Los Angeles Times article that detailed the hiring efforts.

“It is very interesting that many police departments and agencies say that women do not want jobs in law enforcement or they cannot find women to apply to apply for the openings. If that is true, then how did CBP end up with 5,500 female applicants,” WIFLE’s Sanz asked.

The Border Patrol is “trying to get 1600 women on board by the end of the fiscal year.  That is a number large enough to affect that generation of BP agents for the next 20-30 years,” WIFLE’s Sanz continued.

Other law enforcement agencies, as well as organizations like WIFLE, are watching CBP’s female hiring efforts, eager to learn lessons and pitfalls that might inform future hiring initiatives. 

Posted in General News



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