Federal agencies are scrambling to meet the hiring demands laid out by President Donald Trump. As part of his effort to increase border security, the President signed an executive order last year directing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to hire 10,000 new agents. That represents half of the 20,000 total employees ICE has now. But in order to meet that hiring goal, ICE will ultimately be hiring more than 16,000 new employees. That's because the agency says it needs to hire nearly 6,000 support staff members to support the 10,000 new agents.
Months after the President's order, the hiring process remains a slow one. For now, ICE says it cannot hire the new agents until the funding for those new positions is appropriated by Congress. In the meantime, the agency is trying to get a leg up on hiring the support staff by reaching out to the private sector. Last week, ICE sent out a notice seeking private bids on a three-year contract to help with recruiting and hiring the 6,000 support staff personnel. The ultimate cost of that contract is still unknown, since the notice just went out.
The U.S. Border Patrol has faced similar issues since the President ordered an additional 5,000 border agents hired in another executive order. For its part, ICE is trying to lay the groundwork for hiring new agents while waiting for funding from Congress. In a written statement to KTRH, ICE spokeswoman Danielle Bennett says, "ICE is building a pipeline of candidates to support the President's Executive Order," adding that the agency, "has made improvements to our hiring processes in order to meet the anticipated unprecedented hiring numbers in the coming years."