The Slatest

Trump Administration Paid $13.6 Million to Consulting Firm That Has Recruited Just Two Border Patrol Employees

Demonstrators look down and hold their hands in the air. A line of border patrol agents in uniform stand in front of them.
Activists demonstrate next to Border Patrol agents at the U.S.-Mexico border fence at Playas de Tijuana, Mexico, on Monday. Guillermo Arias/Getty Images

U.S. Customs and Border Protection awarded a $297 million contract to an outside company last year to shore up Border Patrol staffing, but 10 months and $13.6 million into the deal, the firm has only secured two new hires, according to a federal watchdog report released last week.

According to the report, which was released by the inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security on Dec. 6 and reported by HuffPost on Tuesday, the Border Patrol last year hired a subsidiary of the global consulting company Accenture to aid in the president’s crackdown on migrants crossing the border. Over the next five years, the company is meant to hire 7,500 people for CBP—a goal it is “nowhere near satisfying,” according to the report. “Further, CBP has used significant staffing and resources to help Accenture do the job for which it was contracted,” the report noted. “As such, we are concerned that CBP may have paid Accenture for services and tools not provided.”

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Of the other “serious performance issues” identified in the report, Accenture promised it would be able to “perform all steps of the hiring process” within 90 days. But nearly a year later, it has not been able to demonstrate that it has delivered on that promise. “Without addressing the issues we have identified, CBP risks wasting millions of taxpayer dollars on a hastily approved contract that is not meeting its proposed performance expectations,” the report noted. “CBP must hold the contractor accountable … ”

In its response to the assessment, Border Patrol said Accenture set up a system that helped usher through “thousands” of applications. But the Office of the Inspector General challenged CBP on this, asserting that there were no records that these applicants existed and could be credited to Accenture’s work. “As such, we question the veracity of CBP management’s assertion,” the report said.

The Border Patrol agreed to four recommendations from the inspector general, including a recommendation to determine whether Accenture should reimburse the DHS for the services it failed to deliver for the steep price of $13.6 million.

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