Border Agents Concerned and Demoralized, Says Union Survey

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More than 60 percent of Border Patrol agents and immigration officers surveyed for a study issued on Monday said the Department of Homeland Security could do more to stop potential terrorists from entering the country, and more than a third said they were not satisfied that they had the tools and training to do so, reports the New York Times. The survey, of 500 border agents and immigration inspectors, was conducted for the unions representing them by Peter D. Hart Research Associates. It found them sharply divided on whether the country was safer now than before the 9/11 attacks: 53 percent said it was, but 44 percent said it was no safer or was less safe.

The survey also found low morale to be pervasive. Officials at the Department of Homeland Security dismissed the survey as biased and inaccurate, saying it offered only a limited snapshot of the views of the department’s 42,000 employees. They cited a number of strides, among them airport inspectors’ collection of digital fingerprints and photographs from more than six million foreign visitors since January, the first move toward creating a comprehensive system to screen travelers.

Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2004/08/24/politics/24border.html

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