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Border Patrol is offering up to $10,000 as a hiring bonus to tempt prospective agents into stepping up to serve at the southern border — at a time when the agency is being dogged by low morale and a severe migrant crisis.
According to a notice put out on Monday, new agents will be given a $5,000 “recruitment incentive” after finishing the academy. Agents who are assigned to areas in Texas and Arizona deemed “hard-to-fill” locations will get an extra $5,000 on top of that. The development was first reported by The Washington Examiner.
Border Patrol agents have been on the front lines of a migrant crisis that has been nonstop since the beginning of the Biden administration. There have been more than 200,000 migrant encounters each month since March, and there have been more than 500,000 “gotaways” since the beginning of the fiscal year in October.
Fox News learned this week that there have been more than 800,000 migrants encounters just in the Rio Grande Valley and Del Rio sectors in Texas alone.
A U.S. Border Patrol agent stands on a cliff looking for migrants that crossed the border wall between the U.S. and Mexico near the city of Sasabe, Arizona, Jan. 23, 2022. (Salwan Georges/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Multiple Border Patrol agents have told Fox News Digital that morale among agents is at an all-time low as they deal with a combination of a historic migrant crisis and an administration they believe is stopping them from doing their jobs of enforcing the laws of the United States.
“The agents are upset. I’ve never seen agents so upset as I have under what is currently going on,” Brandon Judd, head of the National Border Patrol Council (NBPC) told Fox News Digital in April.
“When you look at, first, how many agents are being pulled out of the field to do administrative duties, that’s one thing that’s really upsetting the agents, and then on top of that knowing that we’re going to have to face the health risk that we’ll be put under, having to hold people for a much longer period of time than we have in the past — yeah, that’s putting an immense amount of stress and pressure on the agents and morale continues to go down,” he said.
“Extremely low,” one agent said when asked about morale. “We are being mandated to work six days a week every other week and have been for the past few months. It is causing a strain physically as well as emotionally. Personally, I am exhausted. I can deal with the work as it is ,but a 60-hour work week every other week is taking a toll.”
DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas acknowledged the morale crisis among agents in February after a visit to the border where he saw some of the anger and frustration from agents in person.
In one exchange in Yuma, an agent turned his back on Mayorkas after accusing him of not allowing agents to do their jobs, while another said that Yuma was better under President Donald Trump as “everyone was doing their jobs.”
“It was a tough trip because we confronted a workforce … whose morale is struggling, is down, and that’s a responsibility I have to address it, and we certainly met when we got back with a whole team about how we were going to address the challenges,” Mayorkas said.
Mayorkas has since touted a pay bump and new hiring for Border Patrol, but many agents have been unhappy with the way that the Biden administration has handled a controversy from last year — where agents were falsely accused of whipping Haitian migrants.
President Biden had repeated those false accusations, and many agents feared that the resulting investigation dragged on in order to find anything to hit the agents with.
Ultimately, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced last month that the investigation found “no evidence” that agents struck migrants with their reins or used whips — even as it recommended punishment for the agents for infractions such as “offensive” language and maneuvering a horse too close to a child.
Fox News’ Peter Hasson and Griff Jenkins contributed to this report.
Adam Shaw is a politics reporter for Fox News Digital, with a focus on immigration. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter: @AdamShawNY