Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Temp work at the border

Some Republicans in Congress are calling for private firms to help patrol the border.

DynCorp International, a Virginia-based military security firm, said it could train and deploy 1,000 private agents to the U.S.-Mexico border within 13 months, offering a quick surge of law enforcement officers to a region struggling to clamp down on illegal immigration.

Currently, the company manages an army of private security agents deployed across the world in support of U.S. missions, including several former Border Patrol agents hired to help secure the Iraqi border.

“We could provide highly qualified people to the Border Patrol quickly,” company spokesman Greg Lagana said. “It’s kind of like a temp service in that there are no obligations for long-time work.”

This is just yet another potential outcome of Congress’ inability to act. Rent-a-cops at the border. At the moment, though, the Border Patrol is not biting.

“That’s not even something the Border Patrol would consider,” said Ramon Rivera, a Washington-based spokesman for the agency. “We are on track (for hiring) and should be meeting our numbers for 2008.”

But the proposal has gained early support from some Republicans, including U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala., who introduced a bill last summer that would mandate the addition of 5,000 to 8,000 contract agents.

The bill died in committee, but Rogers may reintroduce it if the Border Patrol fails to meet its hiring goals, his staffers said.


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