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house Bill H.R. 2213

Should Law Enforcement, Military Personnel and Veterans be Able to Get Waivers From Border Protection’s Polygraph Requirement?

Argument in favor

The law enforcement officers and members of the military who this bill waives CBP’s polygraph requirement for applicants who’ve already taken one or been thoroughly vetted in their current jobs through a background check, so an additional polygraph test is unnecessary.

Mathew's Opinion
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06/06/2017
I doubt the effectiveness of polygraphs in recruiting better border patrol. Let's save the money.
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Leon's Opinion
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06/07/2017
No one should have to take a polygraph if elected leaders do not.
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Jlavs's Opinion
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06/05/2017
Polygraphs aren't reliable, this is a waste of resources.
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Argument opposed

Customs and Border Protection has a polygraph requirement in place for a reason — to ensure that only qualified people are hired. There shouldn’t be an option to waive that requirement for law enforcement or military personnel with qualifying experience.

Laura's Opinion
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06/06/2017
Oh no, absolutely not. The blatant bias of this bill is both astonishing and naive. Intrinsically implied is the idea that someone with a military or law enforcement background is somehow more trustworthy than other citizens. How so? Timothy McVeigh served in the military and so did Micah Xavier Johnson (Dallas, July 2016). Just because someone cleared past scrutiny means nothing. Vet everyone equally and thoroughly. There is virtually no way to know how complete past vetting may or may not have been or what may have changed since then. It is preposterous that the same GOP that supports the Muslim ban and 45's wall in the name of national security would even consider such a bill as this. The bias and hypocrisy are astounding.
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Damian's Opinion
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06/07/2017
As a Veteran who served in the Army, I understand the entry process. No disrespect to fellow service members, but the vetting requirements for this job are higher than the standards for entering the service, and should not be waived.
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Dan's Opinion
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06/07/2017
Even though polygraphs don't work, the law should be applied equally to everyone. If you're short staffed, hire more people.
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What is House Bill H.R. 2213?

This bill would seek to alleviate a staffing shortage at Customs and Border Protection (CBP) by granting waivers to the agency’s polygraph requirement for qualified law enforcement officers, members of the Armed Forces, and veterans. It would also impose reporting requirements he waiver authority would sunset five years after this bill is enacted.

An applicant would need to meet the following specific criteria, in addition to not engaging in criminal activity or being under investigation for such activity or misconduct:

  • State and local law enforcement officers would have to have served for at least three continuous years, have the ability to arrest or apprehend someone, and have completed a successful polygraph in their current job.

  • Federal law enforcement officers would have to have served for at least three continuous years; have the ability to arrest or apprehend someone, use a weapon, or serve a warrant; and hold a current/in-scope Tier 4 background investigation or Tier 5 single-scope background check in their current job.

  • Members of the Armed Forces or veterans would need to have served at least three years, held a security clearance in the last five years, have undergone a current/in-scope Tier 4 background investigation or Tier 5 single-scope background check in the last five years, not gained their clearance through a waiver, and have received or be eligible for an honorable discharge.

Within one year of the bill’s enactment and every four years thereafter, CBP would be required to provide Congress with a report about the number of waivers requested, granted, and denied, the reasons for denial, and the final employment outcome for the application in question.

Impact

Law enforcement and military personnel looking to work for CBP; and CBP.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 2213

The CBO estimates that enacting this bill wouldn’t affect spending or revenues.

More Information

In-Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ) introduced this bill to give CBP the ability to expedite the hiring of existing law enforcement officers and veterans to fill a shortage of officers and agents by exempting such applicants from polygraph requirements:

“Fully staffing our CBP officers at our ports of entry and Border Patrol agents between the ports of entry is vital for security and economic growth of our communities and nation. These shortages have grown worse over the last several years. These common sense discretionary tools will give the CBP Commissioner the ability to transition those who have taken an oath and put their lives on the line for us already into these critical positions more expeditiously while continuing to provide safeguards against corruption.”

This legislation passed the House Homeland Security Committee on a voice vote and has the support of nine bipartisan cosponsors, including six Republicans and three Democrats.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: CBP Photos via Flickr / Public Domain)

AKA

Anti-Border Corruption Reauthorization Act of 2017

Official Title

To amend the Anti-Border Corruption Act of 2010 to authorize certain polygraph waiver authority, and for other purposes.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
  • The house Passed June 7th, 2017
    Roll Call Vote 282 Yea / 137 Nay
      house Committees
      Committee on Homeland Security
    IntroducedApril 27th, 2017

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    I doubt the effectiveness of polygraphs in recruiting better border patrol. Let's save the money.
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    Oh no, absolutely not. The blatant bias of this bill is both astonishing and naive. Intrinsically implied is the idea that someone with a military or law enforcement background is somehow more trustworthy than other citizens. How so? Timothy McVeigh served in the military and so did Micah Xavier Johnson (Dallas, July 2016). Just because someone cleared past scrutiny means nothing. Vet everyone equally and thoroughly. There is virtually no way to know how complete past vetting may or may not have been or what may have changed since then. It is preposterous that the same GOP that supports the Muslim ban and 45's wall in the name of national security would even consider such a bill as this. The bias and hypocrisy are astounding.
    Like (311)
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    As a Veteran who served in the Army, I understand the entry process. No disrespect to fellow service members, but the vetting requirements for this job are higher than the standards for entering the service, and should not be waived.
    Like (180)
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    Even though polygraphs don't work, the law should be applied equally to everyone. If you're short staffed, hire more people.
    Like (74)
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    No waiver! The military and law enforcement have just as many discipline problems as the average group citizens who never served a day in the armed forces or police. If the applicate is thoroughly vetted any US citizen should have the opportunity to apply for a job. Just because a person served in the armed forces or a police force doesn't make their ethics or morals sparkling clean. I've read the military personnel files, many and they walk and talk just like the rest of us with one exception, they have more knowledge of weapons and have been trained to take orders and kill. Many have troubled pasts and come out of service prepared for troubled futures. Nothing promises good judgement nor that some experience in the past will not surface in the future except thorough vetting by a prospective employer especially when guns and potential violence are involved. Read the news, how many veterans commit crimes that involve guns and how many police officers have killed in the line of duty under questionable circumstances. Do the vetting, do a proper job in hiring, investigate potential hires thoroughly otherwise whatever disasters that occur will be on this Congress and Administration but mostly on us for allowing shortcuts.
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    Assuming that all police officers and all veterans are trustworthy is just as naive, just as contrary to known facts as assuming that all Muslims are terrorists. All applicants for CBP jobs should be vetted thoroughly and equally. Remember: these agents have a great deal more authority and more discretion than civilian police.
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    Everyone is equal, so everyone gets the polygraph. A police officer who quits his job in one city will need to have a poly administered at his new job. Equality under the law.
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    I'd like to have more information on this bill please. Who would be exempt from polygraph tests? Studies and history have shown that polygraph does not work to detect lies reliably and can be set off by random biological stressesor or be fooled by very calm individuals.
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    No. Why is this even a question? Of course they should be subject to the same scrutiny as anyone else! The vetting process for the various agencies undoubtedly differ, not to mention that circumstances change based on one's experiences. Someone who qualified for a completely unrelated position previously isn't necessarily fit to serve in this role.
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    Someone prior experience does not automatically qualify them for something. Standards are standards and should be enforced equally.
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    Polygraphs should not be used on anyone, period.
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    I don't mind the reasoning of this bill but I don't think waving a polygraph test will make anything run quicker. If anything it will embolden those with sketchy records to apply and possibly slip through. Keep the policy in place as it is and make sure security forces are equipped to serve both physically and MENTALLY.
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    Those meant to enforce laws and protect the people should be held to a higher standard than the average person, not a lower one.
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    Law enforcement officials must be held to the same standard as any other applicant.
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    NOPE. Good grief...we really need to stop this idea of automatic sainthood if you are police or a military veteran. Given that CBP had one of the worst records for corruption and sexual abuse of both employees and detainees of any government agency I say their hiring process could use a closer look. Maybe some "extreme vetting"?
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    All people should be evaluated equally. If you make a hole, something will slip through that hole.
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    No one should be exempt, they can be as corrupt as anyone else.
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    So much law enforcement and military worship in this country. The rest of us are NOT second class citizens. Enough.
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    No one should have to take a polygraph if elected leaders do not.
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    Rep. McSally said: "These common sense discretionary tools will give the CBP Commissioner the ability to transition those who have taken an oath and put their lives on the line for us already into these critical positions more expeditiously while continuing to provide safeguards against corruption.” I do wonder, however, why they should be exempted. After all, we just got free of a POTUS, who authorized illegal spying on American citizens! HE LIKEWISE TOOK AN OATH! And several other members of his administration were also corrupt! DIDN'T THEY TAKE AN OATH?! I don't think the fact that someone has taken an oath can be considered PROOF that they will not betray us! It doesn't take such a long time to administer a polygraph test! I've witnessed one. I personally think it is wiser to err on the side of CAUTION! Three years of service to one's country isn't all that long. I'd be more inclined to support this bill if it required a 10 year spotless record of service! I'm going to have to vote NAY! H.R.2213 - Anti-Border Corruption Reauthorization Act of 2017 Sponsor: Rep. McSally, Martha [R-AZ-2] Cosponsors: Rep. McCaul, Michael T. [R-TX-10]* Rep. Hurd, Will [R-TX-23]* Rep. Carter, John R. [R-TX-31]* Rep. Cuellar, Henry [D-TX-28]* Rep. Roe, David P. [R-TN-1]* Rep. Vela, Filemon [D-TX-34]* Rep. Messer, Luke [R-IN-6] Rep. Gonzalez, Vicente [D-TX-15] Rep. Arrington, Jodey C. [R-TX-19] Text of bill: https://www.congress.gov/115/bills/hr2213/BILLS-115hr2213rh.pdf Related bill: S.595 - Boots on the Border Act of 2017 Sponsor: Sen. Flake, Jeff [R-AZ] Cosponsors: Sen. McCain, John [R-AZ]* Sen. Johnson, Ron [R-WI]* Sen. McCaskill, Claire [D-MO] [I'm suspicious of anything that Sen. McCain is in favor of! I'm going to have to go over this bill with a fine-toothed comb!] Text of bill: https://www.congress.gov/115/bills/s595/BILLS-115s595is.pdf
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