Customs and Border Protection, aka CBP, is a part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The stated mission of CBP, according to their website is:
To safeguard America’s borders thereby protecting the public from dangerous people and materials while enhancing the Nation’s global economic competitiveness by enabling legitimate trade and travel.
CBP has strict hiring standards, as one might expect, given the sensitive nature of their jobs:
Basic Qualifications and Medical Requirements for Border Patrol Agents
You must be a United States citizen.
You must possess a valid automobile driver’s license.
You must take and pass the CBP Border Patrol entrance examination. The CBP Border Patrol entrance examination is a three-part test that covers logical reasoning skill; the Spanish language or, if you don’t speak Spanish, an artificial language test that predicts your ability to learn Spanish; and an assessment of job-related experiences and achievements.
Your résumé must completely and specifically describe your job duties that you want considered in the determination. All transcripts, grade-point calculations, and other documentation must be submitted to the CBP Minneapolis Hiring Center. Failure to provide this documentation will result in your ineligibility for the position.
You must pass a urine drug test: tentative selectees for this position will be required to submit to a urine drug screen for illegal substances prior to appointment. This position is designated for testing for illegal drug use; after hiring, incumbents are subject to random testing. In addition to drug screening, candidates must meet specific medical and physical requirements.
You must be younger than 37 at the time of selection. The limitation may be waived for applicants who are currently in Federal civilian law enforcement positions covered under the special retirement provisions of Public Law 100-238 or who have been in such positions in the past.
You must appear before an oral interview panel and demonstrate that you possess the abilities and other characteristics important to Border Patrol Agent positions. Among these are interpersonal skills, judgment, and problem-solving abilities.
These are only the most basic qualifications … to be a typist or janitor. To become a G5 or higher, there are additional requirements. However, Trump has issued a memorandum requiring the standards to be lowered in order to meet his planned expansion from 19,627 Border Patrol agents to about 26,370, an increase of 25%. Estimated cost of Trump’s expansion plan? $2.2 billion. Yes, billion. And why?
Well, let us look at a couple of the tough cases the CBP has tackled in the past month:
- Children’s author Mem Fox of Australia was detained at Los Angeles International Airport on 06 February. Ms. Fox was entering the U.S. in order to give a talk about the importance of tolerance and acceptance. Oh, the irony. Arguably Australia’s most famous children’s author, Fox has written such books as “Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes,” which celebrates the humanity common to all children. No matter where someone is born, no matter what a child looks like, the book reminds us, we all have “ten little fingers/ and ten little toes.” Ms. Fox was standing in the immigration line, reading a book, when a CBP worker loudly called her name and pulled her out of the line, saying “What do you want me to do, stand here while you finish it?” She was then detained for approximately two hours while being ‘interrogated’ about such things as the purpose of her visit, who was sponsoring her hotel, and her personal finances.
- NASA engineer Sidd Bikkannavar was not returning from one of the countries subject to the ban, but rather was returning from a vacation in Turkey. He’s a US-born citizen who was on his way home to Los Angeles, where he works for the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. But when Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers asked him to hand over his work-issued phone and provide the access PIN, he felt torn between his obligation to his employer and orders from another government agency. According to Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), citizens must surrender laptops and phones if a border agent asks for them, but not passwords or social media information.
Just two examples of how CBP is protecting us from those all-evil terrorists … a children’s book author and a NASA engineer. And let us not forget that evil BBC reporter they protected us from! In addition to the news that Trump plans to needlessly waste our hard-earned money to protect us against the likes of these in his plan to keep us all safe, comes the news that he plans to increase military spending at the expense of such programs as environmental and foreign aid programs. How much more does Trump plan in military spending? Some $54 billion. That’s right, folks, $54 BILLION diverted from programs to help save our planet and other programs that help real people, to an increase in spending on little boy’s toys like tanks, and a nuclear arsenal that we have NO need for. This, my friends, is how Trump plans to keep us safe.
The U.S. already has THE HIGHEST military budget of ALL NATIONS ON THE GLOBE, at $596 billion, as compared to the 2nd highest, China, who spends $215 billion. The U.S. spends more than twice as much on military as any other nation in the world! And guess who pays THAT bill, friends??? Now, da trumpeter wants to increase it by $54 billion … 9% … to “protect our safety”? We have not had a major terrorist attack from outside groups in over 16 years, there is no other nation poised to attack us, but we must immediately stop protecting the air we breathe in order to buy more tanks, hire more border patrol agents, build a useless wall, and build more nuclear weapons in order to PROTECT OUR SAFETY???????????????
If this is the cost, I do not wish to be any safer, Mr. Trump. Buy your toys with your own money … or perhaps I should say Robert Mercer’s money.