Border Patrol Tries To Hire 1,600 Women, Gets Only 50 So Far


Faced with tens of thousands of parents and children crossing the Southwest border last year, the U.S. Border Patrol pledged to hire up to 1,600 women. Female migrants, many of whom are sexually assaulted on their journey, often prefer to be searched by women and would be more likely to share information about smugglers with an agent of their own sex. The Border Patrol, whose ranks have long been dominated by men, embarked on its first-ever female recruitment spree, getting rare dispensation to target only women. The deadline for the effort was the end of the fiscal year last week. It netted just 50 women.

After the female-only announcement was posted last December on, the government's largest job board, Border Patrol officials got applications from 3,972 women, mostly from California, Texas, Florida and Arizona. Ten months later, a few hundred candidates are still being vetted and given background checks. Just 5 percent of the 21,000 Border Patrol agents are women, the lowest among federal law enforcement agencies, which average about 15 percent. The work is solitary, outdoors and it can be dangerous, with overnight shifts. Many agents are assigned to remote areas in communities that lack good schools and day care. Policing the border is less glamorous than working as an FBI agent. A college degree is not required, but fluency in Spanish is. Salaries for starting agents start at $39,400. Men and women are held to the same physical standards.

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